Clearance Rack Classics Retro 80s and 90s Dance Mix by DJ Tintin
80s and 90s retro dance adventures of a boy and a cheap mixer
CRC Retro Mix #49
February 18, 2018 10:23 AM PST
1. Heartbeat City - The Cars
Notes and other random things:
So, hello again! Nice to make your acquaintance. Good to finally carve out an evening to record another podcast. I swear, these days I blink and three or four months go by. I suppose, relatively speaking, the same could be said for this episode as it is officially the shortest podcast in CRC history, clocking in at just under one hour. "So, Mr. DJ Tintin," I'm sure you're saying to yourself, "for all my patience waiting for you to give me some new tunes you reward me with LESS music???" It seems that way. You still get the requisite 15 songs, but many of these were single or album versions as opposed to remixes. That's the only defense I have. BUT, look at this artist and track list! Those of you looking for some stuff you haven't heard before may have just hit the mother lode. The Stranglers? Our Daughter's Wedding? Not exactly household names. "Fun City", "Heartbeat City", "Still Angry"? Not exactly the songs anyone would recall off the top of their heads by Soft Cell, The Cars or Book Of Love, respectively. But enough justification. On to the bands ...
So, why were the 80s so great? A loaded question to be sure. But ask yourself how many bands in recent memory could have a member, who owned a hair salon, rent out a space above said hair salon, form a band, get discovered by Bill Nelson of Be Bop Deluxe fame, decide upon wearing women's clothes for a video shot in three days on a shoestring budget and become superstars thanks in some part to a fledgling music network called MTV and a now-famous hairstyle? Such was the fate of A Flock of Seagulls, a band that certainly helped alter my musical trajectory and, with the song I Ran (So Far Away), created one of the most iconic and lasting songs of the decade. THAT is the greatness of the 80s - the fact that music was not yet paint-by-number. There was room for experimentation. Sure, you had to be marketable, but the definition of marketable was fluid. And the rules were fluid. As long as someone in the know heard something they liked or saw a creative spark it was sometimes enough for a label to take a chance on you. Spoken like someone who thinks the music they grew up with is the best, I know. But I ask again: could that backstory exist today? Perhaps, but I just don't see it. As for the song in this podcast, "Telecommunication", it is sort of a cult hit at this point and probably an accidental one at that. "(It's Not Me) Talking" was the first single release by AFOS in 1981, but it was the futuristic lyrics and "wall of sound" energy, later praised by uber-producer Phil Spector, that propelled "Telecommunication" into the clubs and into hearts of new wavers. The tune still sounds cool and futuristic even today and reminds me of a moment in time when musical possibilities were still limitless.
"No sequencers were used" reads the liner notes of Our Daughters Wedding's first EP, "Digital Cowboy". Layne Rico (electronic percussion / synth), Keith Silva (vocals / synth) and Scott Simon (synth / saxophone) wanted everyone to know that their electronic wizardry and sleight of hand was due entirely to coordination and skill and not programming and triggers like many of their contemporaries such as Depeche Mode and OMD, two groups to which ODW was often compared after their switch over from punk rock and guitars to new wave and synths. And while the group, who sang about lawnchairs and made frequent appearances on MTV with Martha Quinn in the early days of the network, somewhat ironically dismissed DM and OMD as being too "gimmicky", the group did score opening slots for some of the giants of the day including Duran Duran, Talk Talk, Iggy Pop, The Psychedelic Furs and U2. They even worked with famed producer Colin Thurston to record the aforementioned EP. Not bad for a US-based band who suffered the slings and arrows and broken beer bottles of misfortune hurled at them for using electronics on stage at a time when punk was still king. But even skill and deigning to employ sequencers could not save the group from a dust up with their label, EMI. According to Scott Simon, the LA office killed the momentum of their full-length album, Moving Windows, which was released in 1982, because a label exec had a personal issue with one of the band's representatives. The track here, Auto Music, is a Razormaid! mix of the lead track to that first and only full-length. The sweet electronic bass line you hear came about from Simon and David Spradley, the producer for Moving Windows, "jamming one morning in our Union Square loft."
To cut a long story short, Spandau Ballet are good. Go buy their records. Seriously, though, Spandau Ballet seems like a perfect name for a slick and sophisticated band who helped spearhead the New Romantic movement, an era of glossy images and high fashion that gave rise to groups like Duran Duran and Visage and others. That is until you remember that, like other groups, SB had their roots in the punk scene and that their name was Allied trench warfare slang for corpses whose bullet-riddled bodies twisted and danced on barbed wire as they were hit by German gunfire. Perhaps they would have been better off going with The Cut or The Makers, both previous band names. But, the name Spandau Ballet stuck as did the amazing voice of Tony Hadley, the Kemp brother's guitar prowess (Martin and Gary), Steve Norman's saxophone riffs and John Keeble's percussive underpinnings. That classic lineup produced a string of Top 10 hits (10 to be precise) including "Gold", "Only When You Leave", "True", "Chant No. 1" and the song in this podcast, "To Cut A Long Story Short", the groups' debut single, which reached #5 in the UK. Speculation surrounding the song is that it pertains to a veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after being drafted, but getting no explanation why he must join the war. This song apparently inspired Vince Clarke (Depeche Mode, Yaz, The Assembly) to write DM's third single, "Just Can't Get Enough" which, as a side note, is currently being used in a Wal-Mart advertisement. I did NOT see that coming!
What more can be said about Gary Numan that hasn't already been said over the course of four decades by the music press? Probably nothing, so I'm not even going to try to break new ground. But, in case you missed it, Gary did just drop his 18th solo album, Savage (Songs From A Broken World), this past September and it instantly shot all the way up the album charts to #2 in the UK and #1 on the UK Indie charts. Call it a love of the man and his music or an indictment of the current music scene, but for a guy who goes down in history as the first artist to secure a #1 song using an all-electronic approach with the highly-coveted and frequently-covered "Are Friends Electric?" way back in 1979, the fact that Gary is still making music that questions, challenges, lifts, destroys and defies convention is impressive. Despite the lofty charting position of the new album and its predominant use of electronics, it failed to register on the Billboard Electronic charts because, according to a Billboard executive, “Sonically, the Numan album just does not fit in" with Billboard's perception of electronic dance music. Seems a bit ridiculous, but Numan is no stranger to such disinterest or indifference on the part of the music cabal. In fact, even during his heyday, "Are Friends Electric?" was perched atop the British charts for three weeks before any radio station would add it to their playlists. The song in this podcast, "I Die: You Die", which appeared in 1980 on the Telekon album a mere two years after his Tubeway Army signing with Beggars Banquet, is his rebuke of the music press and their God complex, star-maker/star-breaker tendencies. The track eventually reached #6 on the UK singles chart.
And finally, speaking of the music press, the last band I'd like to mention here had them completely baffled and befuddled for the bulk of their career, or at least until 1990 when Hugh Cornwall left the group. The Stranglers, originally known as the Guildford Stranglers when they embarked as a band in 1974, were comprised of guitarist/keyboardist Hugh Cornwall, bassist/vocalist Jen-Jacques Burnel, keyboardist Dave Greenfield and drummer Brian Duffy (aka Jet Black). Though not one member hailed from Guildford, they were "tweeners" in every sense of the word, dabbling in numerous styles from electropop to soul during the course of their long and storied career. And while many of their successes came during their early punk days, they never quite fit into the punk scene. Ostracized for their relative age, their humorous, often self-deprecating lyrical style contrasted with their often anti-politically correct stage antics, their stunningly fast musical growth and development, and their hit-making skill, which generated 21 Top-40 singles, The Stranglers set themselves apart from their punk contemporaries and gave the press fits as they did not know how to put square pegs into round holes. The track here, "All Roads Lead To Rome" was from their seventh album, Feline. As you can hear, it has distinct new wave overtones, which makes total sense having been released in 1982, but it is certainly a brave departure from their earlier work. And while this track did not chart, it still stands as one of the high points from the Feline album and provides a glimpse into a chameleon-like band that was firmly in transition.
Another episode in the books. Thanks for reading/listening. Enjoy the music!
CRC Retro Mix #48
August 20, 2017 05:45 AM PDT
1. Close (To The Edit) - The Art Of Noise
July 06, 2017 10:21 AM PDT
1. Love Is All That Matters - The Human League
Notes and other random things:
So, how often does a band release a non-hit to promote an upcoming Greatest Hits compilation? I don't know the answer exactly, but it can't be very often. Still, The Human League did just that with the first track in this episode. Truth be told, "Love Is All That Matters" did reach #41 in the UK, but this particular song was aimed at US audiences specifically due to the fact the that "Human", the first single from the album Crash, went to #1 in the States. Sadly, the track failed to chart in America. Oddly enough, the song, which was the third single off the album, was released almost two years after the album itself, which made it more of a promotion for the upcoming Greatest Hits package. Accompanying the song's release was a cheaply-made clips video, perpetuating the notion that the group's label was not willing to invest much more in the band, with their having reached a low point creatively. It's why the band was flown to Minneapolis in the first place to work with renowned producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, mega-producers responsible for the meteoric rise of Janet Jackson and others. While the parties got along personally, professionally the sessions were a total power struggle. Lead singer Phil Oakey said of the pairing, "We like to be in control in the studio. We don't like giving that up to a producer. That's why we had a big, final argument, and we just decided to go home and leave them to finish it off. It just got to the point of who had the power, and in that instance...They were the men behind the mixing console, so they had ultimate control." Jam and Lewis had notoriously rejected much of the band's material in favor of their own, even replacing keyboardists Philip Adrian Wright and Ian Burden. Wright was so humiliated, he quit the band upon their return to the UK and Burden shortly thereafter. Still, despite the power struggle, Oakey now admits that this record saved their careers, despite feeling as if its not truly their album. Whatever the case, "Love Is All That Matters" is a terrific song, which is why I chose to feature it here.
Naked Eyes has not often shown up in these podcasts, mostly because I do not own any remixes by the group. (Insert audible gasp here). While their music is fantastic, it seems there was always something there to remind me that other releases took precedence over filling gaps in the Naked Eyes portion of my music collection. (You see what I did there!) Thank goodness for looping then, right? At least it gives me a chance to feature SOMETHING by these guys. In this instance, I chose "(What) In the Name of Love" from 1984's Fuel for the Fire album. It was the second full-length release from the group that was origially conceived as a duo featuring Pete Byrne on vocals and counterpart Rob Fisher on keyboards. Originally in a band called Neon with future Tears For Fears progenitors, Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith, that collaboration was short-lived, but it gave fans of 80s music two great bands at the expense of one, which is not a bad thing at all. And though you may hear lots of wacky stories from those who lived through the decade of excess, one thing you'll never hear anyone say is "I remember seeing Naked Eyes live." Though Pete Byrne has said they expected to tour after their first album, but their record label wanted them to produce more studio material, many believe that the complexity of their music prevented them from ever touring. They were one of the early adopters of the Fairlight CMI and Emulator sampling synthesizers and, because of the sheer bulk of the equipment back then and the limitations those synthesizers possessed with regard to memory and sequencing ability, it was considered almost impossible to recreate their songs in a live setting. These were digital sound reproductions, not analog or reel-to-reel reproductions as bands like Depeche Mode used on stage for percussion early in their careers. So, much like Visage before them, the band was strictly a studio creation. After the second album, Byrne and Fisher took a hiatus from Naked Eyes to pursue other musical interests, but left the partnership open-ended. They had always planned to get back together to write more songs. The moment arrived in 1999, but sadly the sessions were interrupted when Rob Fisher died of complications from surgery. Still, Byrne has carried on and Naked Eyes in its current incarnation has been playing live shows across America from Hollywood to Carnegie Hall, has performed on PBS and has put out both a live concert DVD and a critically-acclaimed ten-song acoustic collection. An all-new studio album is apparently forthcoming as well. Maybe it will have some remixes!
Anyone with a working knowledge of Ministry and Alain Jourgensen knows the group has gone through a fairly massive transformation from their early days as a new wave/synthpop group to the thrash metal juggernaut that tore up venues with punishing guitar-laden sounds from mid-90s to the present. To anyone else, it would seem that the Ministry appearing in this podcast is not even the same group as the current incarnation. Heck, it's still hard for me to connect the dots between point A and point B, but for Jourgensen that would probably be the preferable scenario. He has repeatedly said his previous persona, that of a clean-cut kid sporting new wave duds and singing with a fake British accent was a mistake, disavowing any willfulness on his part to produce such a monstrously "awful" album as With Sympathy, the source for "What He Say", the track that appears here. He has held tight to the notion that Arista records was solely responsible for the direction the band took on that first full-length release, though his wife at the time was quoted as saying "...the English accent thing was more an homage to the bands he loved than anything else. He was not trying to come off as British. The Stones used a southern accent and no one crawled up their ass for it." Regardless, With Sympathy is an excellent slice of new wave bliss despite the fact that its creator denies having anything to do with it. Out of print for quite a while (Jourgensen has said on several occasions that he destroyed the original master tapes) the album was reissued in 2012 with three bonus tracks.
The Other Two, if memory serves (and it may not) has not yet appeared in CRC. The group consists of Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert, husband and wife, drummer and keyboardist respectively of New Order and both critical components to the success of that band. Morris also drummed for Joy Division. Morris has said there is no real mystery to The Other Two band name "We're crap at names, and it was getting late" is his explanation of its origin. Interestingly, the pair originally sought out Alison Moyet and Kim Wilde to perform vocal duties, but Moyet didn't happen and Wilde apparently went on too many vacations to be a reliable addition. With Morris' dislike of singing drummers (Phil Collins and Don Henley specifically make him sick) Gilbert was recruited to provide the voice for the group. Most of the material appearing on their two albums, The Other Two & You (1993) and Super Highways (1999) is part re-purposed stuff and left-over stuff cobbled together from the various television and soundtrack work the duo has authored over the years. The track here, "Loved It (The Other Track)" was the last song on their debut album and appeared only on CD releases.
Last, but not least is a woman who outsold Madonna in many countries during the mid-80s. Her name is Sandra Ann Lauer - Sandra - as her legions of fans know her, and is one of two artists in this episode to have collaborated with Michael Cretu, with one of them eventually marrying the producer extraordinaire. Can you guess which one? (Hint: it's not Peter Schilling) Formerly the lead singer of a disco trio called Arabesque, she also provided vocals on the string of Enigma albums released in the 90s and beyond. The track here, "(I'll Never Be) Maria Magdalena was the lead single from her debut album The Long Play, which was released in 1985. While having a rather striking resemblance to Laura Branigan and Italian singer Raf's huge hit "Self Control" from a year earlier, this track went on to become a #1 hit in 21 countries around the world. It was re-released in 1993 with much more techno elements and a futuristic video, but it flopped signaling the start of her career decline from it's lofty peak. She is, however, still recording music to moderate success.
Thus endeth the lesson and this episode. Until next time, Happy Listening!
CRC Retro Mix #46
May 21, 2017 10:04 AM PDT
1. Beat Dis - Bomb The Bass
Notes and other random things:
First, apologies to Kon Kan fans. I had fully intended to include a remix of "I Beg Your Pardon" in this episode. But I didn't. Why? Well, I've found that early Sunday mornings are about the most opportune time for me to record podcasts now - really early. And in my half-awake, half-asleep state I cued up the wrong tune. In all my years of DJ-ing/podcasting, I can't ever recall cuing up a song I had no intention of using. It's funny, but I couldn't for the life of me figure out why the beats wouldn't match and it wasn't until 3 or so minutes later that I realized I was cuing up the wrong tune. At that point, I didn't have enough time to switch to a different song, so I just went with it. So, for all you Pet Shop Boys fans out there, you get two PSB tunes in this podcast with only a single song separating them. It works, I suppose, but I generally prefer to use only one song per artist in each 'cast. I guess there's a first time for everything, right?
Speaking of a first time for everything, after 45 episodes, Bomb The Bass finally appears in song form and not in a production or remix vein. I alluded to "Beat Dis" in episode #41 as CRC featured the Bomb The Bass Mix of Depeche Mode's song "Strangelove" as the lead-off track. One of the early dance tracks to incorporate sampling into the mix, "Beat Dis" was the first single from Bomb The Bass (aka Tim Simenon) and had upwards of 72 samples contained within. Along with ground-breaking tracks, "Pump Up the Volume" by MARRS and "Theme from S'Express" by S'Express, "Beat Dis" heralded the arrival of sampling as a viable artform. The track was huge in Europe, reaching #2 on the UK Singles Chart. It also peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play Chart for one solitary week, marking the only charted hit for Bomb The Bass in the United States.
I have a real soft spot for the track I'd like to mention next. The band is T42 and the track is "Don't Let My Love". These guys were on the upswing and on the cusp of breaking out in a big way from the Dallas-Ft.Worth market during my time there in the early 90s. Orignally a duo consisting of Jay Gillian and Jimron Goff, vocalist Will Loconto supplanted Goff as the lead singer in 1989. After the release of a cassette EP (remember those?) called Hot On Top, they gained steady airplay on 94.5 The Edge radio station, which was home to all the great alternative bands back in the day. One of my many record store haunts back then, Oak Lawn Records picked up the band for a 12" single of "Don't Let My Love", which did well enough to attract the attention of Columbia Records, who signed the group. They released the full-length album, Intruder, in 1992, which was produced by Paul Robb from Information Society. It's hard not to hear the similarities to Information Society on "Don't Let My Love" and other songs on the album as well. In an ironic twist, Loconto quit the band in 1993, setting out to work with Information Society. While Gillian brought in other musicians to keep the T42 fires burning, the band's star faded and the group melted wistfully into the retro ether. Still, they left behind some tasty pop sugar for our consumption, even doing a very respectable cover of "Let Me Go" by Heaven 17. If you're into upbeat electro-pop, Intruder is definitely worth a listen. And if you're from the DFW area, the album and this song should be a reminder of an excellent time when the DFW local music scene was king.
Taken from his 1982 album of the same name, Peter Godwin's "Images In Heaven" resembles more of a cult classic than a bonafide mega-hit. Formerly a member of the short-lived glam rock band Metro, along with Duncan Browne and Sean Lyons, Godwin is probably best remembered for his solo effort, "Images In Heaven", though you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone outside of devout new wave lovers who are very familiar with the song. David Bowie may argue the "best-remembered" point, as Metro's song "Criminal World" made enough of an impression on Mr. Stardust to induce a cover tune. Still, outside of 1983's Correspondence album and a Best Of compilation released in 1998 on Oglio Records, Godwin's scant musical output has always left new wave junkies wishing for something more.
Something more ... also the sentiment I feel about Seven Red Seven. Chicago natives and band mates, Mitchell Adrian and David Michael, formed the group in the early 90s and had only a couple of releases issued to minor success before going on to production work for other musicians. However, their time together as a band produced one of the more under-rated and under-appreciated synth-pop albums in Shelter, which was released on Speed Records in 1991. The album included the song here, "That Way Again" and "Thinking Of You" (which appeared in remix form in CRC episode #34). Both were issued as singles. However, the rest of the album, much like Intruder by T42, is a synth-pop delight and a must-have for any synth-pop completist, especially for fans of Red Flag, Cause & Effect, Anything Box, Cetu Javu and others. The group would record just one more album, Bass State Coma, in 1994, and an interesting cover of "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder before moving into the production field. Truly a shame their total musical output was not much, much greater. P.S. Go buy Shelter!
The last band I'd like to mention in this episode is the band Data. Fronted by Georg Kajanus, who made waves in the 70s with his band Sailor, Kajanus left Sailor in 1978 to dabble in electronic music. From this, Data was born. The track here, In Blue ... DJ, is a hybrid mix by Razormaid! Records of a couple of tracks from Data's third and final album, Elegant Machinery. Their other releases include 1983's 2-Time and 1981's Opera Electronica. In 1995, Eternity Records released a compilation album called Accumulator containing the second and third albums in their entirety plus the track "Fallout" from the Opera Electronica album.
That's it for this episode. I'll be back soon with another new episode. Thanks for listening!
CRC Retro Mix #45
April 02, 2017 07:22 AM PDT
1. Tora! Tora! Tora! - Depeche Mode
Notes and other random things:
Starting off this podcast is a song that may not be familiar to non-Depeche Mode fans - or about four of you. The phrase itself is notable for its connection to Pearl Harbor. The word "tora" literally means tiger in Japanese, though in a WWII context it is radio code for "totsugeki raigeki", meaning lightning attack. In a Depeche Mode, context, however, the song is also notable as it is one of only two Martin Gore-penned songs appearing on the band's debut: Speak & Spell. (the other was the instrumental track, Big Muff). As most of you probably know, Vince Clarke, who later went on to form Yaz and Erasure, was an original member of DM and its primary songwriter before leaving the group shortly after the release of their first record. Gore would take over songwriting duties after that. Tora! Tora! Tora!, while not one of the most well-known or provocative songs in the DM catalog, provides a tantalizing, albeit brief, glimpse into the mind of Martin Gore and all that was to come. As a side note, a live version of Tora! Tora! Tora! appears on the 12" version of the song "Get The Balance Right". It was the first live track to appear on any DM single. A limited edition version of GTBR contained several more live tracks, making it the first DM single to appear in a limited edition format.
Speaking of Vince Clarke and Erasure, the second song in this 'cast, "Brother & Sister" is, in my humble opinion the best track on the band's Wild! album, which dropped in 1989, and perhaps one of their best tracks, period. Considered one of the stronger Erasure albums from stem to stern by many fans, Wild! is enigmatic in the sense that, for whatever reason, it didn't strike a chord with American audiences. Coming immediately on the heels of The Innocents from only a year earlier, an album which contained the massive hits "Chains Of Love" and "A Little Respect" one would think that the next album would have more appeal stateside. Yet, not even great songs like "Drama!, "Star" or "Blue Savannah", (#4, #11, #3 respectively in the UK) sniffed the American singles charts. The band wouldn't see the American charts again until the release of "Chorus" in 1991. On another side note, it was around that time that I got to meet Andy Bell. It was at a hotel bar in downtown Fort Worth, Texas after a concert. While I didn't attend the concert, I had a friend who worked at the hotel tip me off that Andy would be in the bar area sometime after the show. Three other friends and I piled into our car and headed for the hotel. When we arrived, there was a rather large throng of people waiting outside, hoping to get in to catch a glimpse of the band. We showed up well after the fact, walked right in the front entrance and took a seat at a table in the bar area. Nobody even inquired whether or not we had a room at the hotel (we didn't). About 15-20 minutes later, Andy and a couple members of his entourage took a seat at a table near us. We mumbled among ourselves, starstruck as ever. It took about another 15 minutes for us to get enough courage to walk over and ask for an autograph. As we were the only other people in the bar, he kindly obliged. We didn't linger or ask a bunch of questions. We simply said how much we loved Erasure's music and thanked him for the autograph. Then we returned to our table. He appeared exhausted from the show and I think he truly appreciated the fact we didn't press the issue.
While many stateside think of Re-Flex as a one-hit wonder thanks to their international smash, "The Politics Of Dancing", the fact is the band had five other singles chart in various countries around the world, including the track "Hurt", which appears here. Reaching #82 in the US back in 1983, the song is largely forgotten or overlooked by all but die-hard fans at this point in time, but it's a fantastic pop gem by any standard and deserves to be heard. Re-Flex were formed in the early 1980s by musicians Baxter on vocals and guitar and Paul Fishman on keyboards and backing vocals, and included Francois Craig on bass, and two successive drummers, Phil Gould and Mark King, both of Level 42 fame. Following King's exit, Roland Vaughn Kerridge took over on drums and later, after Craig’s departure, Thomas Dolby introduced ex-Gloria Mundi bass player Nigel Ross-Scott to the band, thus completing Re-Flex's final and perhaps best-known line-up. Though the group stopped working together in 1987, they have never officially split up. If you are a fan, it might interest you to know that in 2010, Re-Flex band members released a 6 CD box set entitled 'Re-Fuse'. The set includes a re-mastered version of their debut album, The Politics of Dancing, and five CDs of other previously unreleased material. One of those five discs is their sophomore effort called Humanication which, somewhat ironically, was shelved by EMI before its release as it was deemed ... wait for it ... too political.
And speaking of pop perfection, OMD's "Tesla Girls" would have to qualify. Though it's one of the definitive club tracks in the band's catalog, Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys found it exceptionally difficult to come up with a version that they knew to be "right". At the time, the band's confidence had bottomed-out after the release of their fourth album, Dazzle Ships, and the group struggled to produce new music they felt was up to their lofty standards. Inspired by Yugoslavian-born scientist Nikola Tesla, who developed the alternating current, and armed with a title suggested to the group by musician Martha Ladly, "Tesla Girls" went through endless revisions and multiple adaptations during umpteen recording sessions for their fifth album, Junk Culture. Even after creating what would become the album version of the song, McCluskey recorded two new versions and even attempted to remix the original studio recording before admitting defeat and signing off on the version we've all come to love ... except for "Kids In America" singer Kim Wilde, who called the tune "inane and monotonous". Still, in 1984 the track reached #21 in the UK and has become a classic. By the way, the "No, No, No" vocal sample was done by Maureen Humphreys, Paul's wife at the time.
Last, but never least, you may be wondering about the title 5-8-6 by New Order. The song was originally conceived out of Factory Records' head, Tony Wilson, requesting "twenty minutes of pap" from the band. From that directive was borne a 23-minute instrumental titled "Video 5-8-6". The song contained many elements that would surface in various songs on NO's debut album, Power, Corruption and Lies, including their best-selling club hit, "Blue Monday". The song would eventually be distilled down to the vocal version of the song most fans are familiar with. Bassist Peter Hook has stated that the title comes from the bar structure found in the track "Ecstasy". The track went on to chart at #86 on the British Singles Chart and #19 on the British Indie Chart. It also went on to become a classic among classics in the New Order catalog.
Welp, another episode in the books. I'll be back with another soon. Thanks for listening!
January 14, 2017 12:39 AM PST
1. TV - Elektric Music
Notes and other random things:
Some band notes on the way soon ...CRC Retro Mix #43
December 17, 2016 10:39 PM PST
1. I Want You - Utah Saints
Notes and other random things:
Well, here it is. My first brand new podcast in nearly seven months. Where does the time go? They say patience is a virtue and good things come to those who wait and I think this one was worth waiting for. A good blend of the familiar and the not-so-familiar; some things you may remember and some you've long since forgotten or maybe never heard in your entire life.
Before I get to a few band notes, I want to mention that I have now upgraded my account back to a Pro account. I just couldn't bear the thought that people were actually making a point of coming to this site to listen to the music only to be told by a pre-recorded message that they could not because of bandwidth limitations. What does that mean for you all? It means no more running out of bandwidth two days after I post a new episode. With apologies to the Pet Shop Boys it means more "opportunities" to listen and to download when you have time. It means more storage, so I don't have to delete the audio from an older podcast just to post a new one. (You may have already noticed I've re-posted some of the more recent back-catalog episodes). Over time, I will add more of them. For long-time listeners, it's a chance to re-visit some of the older stuff from "back in the day". For newer listeners, it will be like a glut of new podcasts to check out.
I also want to note that I've removed the audio for my previous episode (CRC #42) as the recording levels were all over the map and I didn't think the quality was up to snuff. Perhaps 5 or 6 years ago, it would have been okay, I suppose, but even in light of the cheap mixer and free recording software I use to assemble these 'casts, I think this podcast has come too far now and demands a higher level of quality. So, I may re-record that one at a future date. At that point, I'll re-post. Same for back-catalog items. The really good ones, I'll re-post. The ones that could use a little work will most likely be re-recorded and re-posted as a "reboot" episode. All in all, thank you all again for tuning in. Have a Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2017!
Now on to the bands ...
If you've been a follower of this podcast since the beginning and you've clung to the belief that, against all probability, the thrash metal band, Slayer, would somehow make its presence felt at some point then your patience has finally been rewarded. And you should book your ticket to Vegas immediately. Taking a riff from the group's tune, "War Ensemble", "I Want You" was one of four Top-25 hits for Jez Willis and Tim Garbutt on Utah Saints' self-titled debut. The duo were at the pioneering edge of sampling, also grabbing a snippet of Kate Bush from her track Cloudbusting for the song "Something Good" and a soundbite from the inimitable Annie Lennox from her song "There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart)" for the track "What Can You Do For Me". Called "the first true Stadium House band" by Bill Drummond of The KLF, Utah Saints were one of the first rave acts to play live and one I had the good fortune to see on the same bill with The Shamen in the early 90s during the rave culture explosion. And let me tell you: it was quite a show ... probably.
I first heard "Salvation" by The Hood sometime in 1989 while in college. A guy who lived down the hall from me had a version of it on an old mix tape. I really liked the track and was pleased as punch when the first of many Razormaid! discs from my nascent subscription showed up in the mail containing a mix of that song. It is a portion of that 10+ minute version that appears here. I would soon come across a movie soundtrack of the same name while sifting through record bins at a local indie shop. New Order, Cabaret Voltaire, The Hood, hip-hop producer extraordinaire Arthur Baker and others appeared on the album, so I purchased it. While I've listened to the song "Salvation" umpteen times over the years, I did not know much about the band or its members. To this day, I still don't. I spent the better part of an hour trying to find information on the group, but mostly found song credits and track listings. Eventually, I did find a tiny bit of info on a website called The Lost Turntable. The info was posted by an Arthur Baker and a John Hood respectively, both of whom I can only assume to be the real article.
"the hood- is john hood, a legendary nyc party promoter-doorman,who is also quite a good writer. he was signed for a short time on the sire label and is active on the club scene in south beach, miami, florida"
"Wow! Yeah, that The Hood track is indeed me: John Hood. (Thanks AB!) And I'm delighted to find it posted. In fact, till right now I never even had an MP3 of the song! So if no one minds, I'll post this, save this, and send this around. Nice to find Salvation!"
If anyone knows anything more about The Hood, I would LOVE to get a one-sheet or press kit or bio on them.
Speaking of bands I don't know much about, Gruesome Twosome would qualify as well. Sort of a one-off project for founders Samy Birnbach from Minimal Compact (aka Lord Solomon Pearbrook) and Norwegian producer Per Martinsen, who had been recording under the name Syamese, "Hallucination Generation" is the only official single from the group and was released in 1989. A cult classic in its own right, the song sort of bridges the gap between traditional industrial dance music and the bourgeoning New Beat music scene that was starting to take hold at the time. Birnbach and Martinsen would later collaborate with the likes of Bertrand Burgalat, Thrash from The Orb, Paul Kendall and Fortran 5 to eventually release a full-length album called Candy From Strangers, which was released in 1993. Birnbach currently releases material under the DJ Morpheus moniker, having once worked with Colin Newman from Wire for a project called Oracle, while Martinsen performs as Mental Overdrive.
While it's probably not the best analogy as they employed very different musical styles, Ultravox is much like the band Genesis in the sense that they have two distinct timelines, led by two distinctly different front men. And much like one could argue Peter Gabriel represented the true vision for Genesis, there is no denying that Phil Collins took the band to massive commercial heights and is probably remembered more readily as the face of the group. Similarly, one could argue that while John Foxx may have been the driving force behind Ultravox during their formative years, it was Midge Ure, who took over after Foxx left for a solo career, that kept the band from imploding and pushed them further into the mainstream and to massive success in the UK. With 7 Top-10 albums and 17 Top-10 singles, U-Vox, like many other bands of the day, took their cue from the glam rock outfits that came before such as Neu! In fact, early on Ultravox was known as Ultravox! (with an exclamation point) in deference to Neu! The first album with the classic line-up of Ure, Billy Currie, Warren Cann and Chris Cross would be the amazing Vienna, which marked a very different direction for the group. Produced by long-time Kraftwerk producer Conny Plank, the album included the title track, which would reach #2 in the UK and would be the highest charted song for the band. (John Lennon's "Woman" and "Shaddap You Face" by Joe Dolce would both keep the song from reaching #1). And while the 1982 album Quartet, produced by George Martin, would be the best-selling US album for U-Vox, the band would not again reach the level of critical success they found with Vienna. The song in this podcast is the 12" version of "We Came to Dance", the final single from Ultravox's sixth studio album, Quartet, released on April 18, 1983. The single reached #18 on the UK charts and was the last of seven consecutive top-20 singles for the band. This being the Christmas season, I would be derelict not to mention that Midge Ure also co-wrote (with Bob Geldof of Boomtown Rats fame) and produced the song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" by Band Aid.
Last but not least, I want to mention "State Of The Nation" by New Order. Though it reached #1 on the UK Indie Singles Chart and #30 on the UK Singles chart in 1986, the song is probably not a favorite of the majority of New Order fans. I would wager if every NO devotee were to compile a list of his or her Top 10 songs, it would probably appear in less than 5% of those lists. Still, the track is a great one even if only for the fact that it's one of the few NO songs whose title actually appears within the lyrics and/or chorus of the song. As most die-hard fans know, the titles of most NO tunes have little or no relevance to the subject matter being discussed. "Shellshock", "Regret", "Touched By The Hand Of God" and "Confusion" are a few songs I can think of off the top of my head that go against that grain. While the song did not appear on the album, Brotherhood, which was released around this time, both the remix version appearing here and the B-side called "Shame Of The Nation", which was produced by John Robie, appear on the Substance compilation, released in 1987.
That will do it for this epidsode. I've got my next podcast ready to record. As soon as I find some time, I'll do just that.
May 30, 2016 09:09 PM PDT
1. Ever So Lonely (Razormaid! Mix) - Monsoon
Notes and other random things:
I re-recorded and re-posted this episode on 1/22/17 due to the poor recording levels on the original post. If you downloaded the previous version, you may want to delete that and download this one. It will be much more consistent from start to finish.
Starting off this episode is the band Monsoon. While the term monsoon refers to a seasonal reversal of the wind and torrential downpours that occur in areas of SE Asia, it's an unfortunate name, in a sense, for the band led by Sheila Chandra as they produced but a trickle of pop-infused music before disbanding. Just 16 years old at the time of their only album release, Third Eye, in 1982, Chandra, producer Steve Coe and bassist Martin Smith struck proverbial gold with "Ever So Lonely", which peaked at #12 in the UK. They followed that with the song "Shakti", which rose to #41. However, those two songs would prove to be their only hits, though a cover version of The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" also appeared on the full-length album and featured one Bill Nelson on the E-Bow. In refusing to tether their fortunes to a record label that demanded more hits, Coe and Smith were free to promote Chandra's solo career, which focused less on pop music and more on world music. She eventually signed with Peter Gabriel's Real World record label, releasing three solo albums in the 1990s. Sadly, Chandra today suffers from Burning Mouth Syndrome, an affliction with no underlying medical or dental cause that produces such severe pain when laughing, crying, speaking, singing, etc. that she was rendered mute and forced to give up her music career.
Hailing from Vancouver, BC Canada, The Payolas produced one of the most breathtakingly sensual tracks of the 80s with their amazing song, "Eyes Of A Stranger". A fixture on the Canadian New Wave Scene from the late 70s through the 80s, the band was comprised primarily of core members Paul Hyde and Bob Rock, the latter of whom went on to become a mega-producer/engineer, working with such diverse artists as 311, Metallica, The Cult, Aerosmith, Motley Crue, Our Lady Peace, The Tragically Hip and others. Taking their name from the Alan Freed payola scandal of the late 50s, the group won a Juno award for Single of the Year for Eyes Of A Stranger in 1983. (Rock, himself, has been nominated for 17 Juno awards in various musical categories including Engineer of the Year and Producer of the Year) The track would later appear on the Valley Girl soundtrack, a soundtrack that, like Pretty In Pink after it, was great when soundtracks typically were not. Modern English, The Flirts, Men At Work, The Plimsouls, Josie Cotton, Eddy Grant, Gary Myrick and The Figures and others graced that soundtrack, which became a serious collector's item for a long while until being re-issued by Rhino Records in 1994.
Sticking with the music industry disillusionment theme from earlier, Mark Griffin (aka MC 900 Ft. Jesus), a music hero from my old stomping grounds of Dallas, Texas eventually quit the business after the release of his third album One Step Ahead Of The Spider, released in 1994. Thankfully he leaves a legacy, albeit brief one, of some of the better cult classics of the era including the arsonists lull-a-bye "The City Sleeps" from 1991's Welcome To My Dream album and the track appearing in this episode, the 12-inch mix of "Truth Is Out Of Style" from his 1989 debut album, Hell With The Lid Off. In case you were wondering, Griffin's stage name derived from a sermon by televangelist Oral Roberts, who claimed he was visited by a 900-foot tall image of Jesus, commanding him to erect a hospital on the campus of the university bearing his namesake. Despite his short music career, Griffin's American heritage at the very least was a blessing in disguise as MC 270-Meter Jesus somehow just doesn't have the same ring to it.
I'm going to end this here. I still have another podcast write-up to do and a couple of podcasts ready to record, so I'm going to have to end this here.
Happy Listening!CRC Retro Mix #41
March 06, 2016 12:00 PM PST
1. Strangelove (Bomb The Bass) - Depeche Mode
Notes and other random things:
I hope this time around I will get to do some notes on some of the tracks in this episode. I'm guessing most would rather hear the music than read a bunch of ramblings from a guy stuck in the 80s, but I'll do my best to keep the total package intact. I do want to quickly point out to readers/listeners that this episode did manage to earn an "Explicit" tag due to some thematic issues in a couple of the songs. While the language is generally fine, there is one "slut" outburst in the Berlin tune and some sketchy noises in a couple of the songs typically associated with carnal activities. Just wanted any parents out there to be aware should you feel like playing this mix in the car or somewhere where inquisitve and/or impressionable kids might be within earshot. Berlin and Beloved are the problematic songs, so just fast-forward through those if you're concerned. On to the songs ...
Leading off things is a Bomb The Bass remix of the DM classic, "Strangelove". It's an appropriate first track, I suppose, as the song was the first single off the Music for the Masses album, which was released in 1987. While eminently successful at that point in their career, it's probably the album that nudged DM toward super-stardom, an interesting turn of events considering the band chose the album name as a lark, a snide dismissal of the suggestion that they create more commercially successful music. While the compositions on the album were more sparsely arranged than previous albums and darker in tonality, the album was a critical and commercial success, effectively making DM a musical fixture among the masses, something they jokingly embraced in selecting the title. As for the song itself, it was originally a high-energy pop song, but Mute founder and producer Daniel Miller thought the overall feel of the track wasn't a good fit for the album. Miller's remixed version is the one that shows up on Music for the Masses. Bomb The Bass, by the way, is the one-man audio production team, Tim Simenon. Simenon found early success in the mid-80s as a musician creating drum tracks and basslines, then "bombing" them with a variety of samples and noises. His first single, "Beat Dis", which contained 72 samples including bits and pieces from Public Enemy to Ennio Morricone to anything in between, was one of the first tracks to introduce sampling into the musical vernacular.
"World in Motion" was a song written by New Order in support of England's 1990 FIFA World Cup campaign. Believe it or not, the tune still stands as New Order's only #1 hit on the UK singles charts, holding the top spot for 2 consecutive weeks. The song is credited to ENGLAND New Order, most likely because members of that era's football (soccer) team, including left-winger and future hall-of-famer, John Barnes, contributed vocals and rapping to the song. Last year, a blog entry in NME magazine celebrated the 25th anniversary of perhaps the greatest sports-themed anthem of all time with a look at ten "geeky" facts about the song. I've reposted them below.
2. In fact, he and instrumentalist Gillian Gilbert initially thought the offer of making the song was a joke. They had another offer of work on the table – with director Michael Powell – but eventually chose to delay that until the following year. Later, on the day they started recording 'World in Motion', they received a phone call saying Powell had died. "We made the right decision," they said. "We'd have looked like proper charlies working with a dead director."
3. Gilbert and Morris were actually pretty crucial to the song – the track was adapted from one of their compositions as The Other Two, which was originally written for BBC's 'Reportage'.
4. At the time, when NME asked footballer John Barnes how excited he was to be collaborating on a football song, he responded: "If I thought it was going to be the same as the usual crap, why bother? But this is alright." Barnes' rap was written by the man himself and performed - legend has it - in one take.
5. When the FA heard "love's got the world in motion", they asked the band to replace "love's" with "we've". The band refused. "It's an anti-hooligan song", they said. Too right.
6. Morris, in a crisis of ambiguity, called coming up with the lyrics a "nightmare", because he wanted to avoid any association with football violence while being cheeky enough that "if it all went pear-shaped, at least we could say it was a joke." He later said, "I couldn't imagine it being anything other than 'World Cup Willy', but Keith Allen got involved and made it funny."
7. Keith Allen, who co-wrote 'World In Motion', wanted it to be called 'E for England', with lyrics that ran: "E is for England, England starts with E / We'll all be smiling when we're in Italy." The FA vetoed the decision. Looking back at it in 1993, he was diplomatic: "I think at the time there were certain drug-related overtones that didn't appeal to either Top of the Pops or the record company." Allen was later involved in 1998 unofficial England song 'Vindaloo'.
8. At the time the song was released, lead singer Bernard Sumner told NME, "This should be the last straw for
9. Reflecting on the song years later, Morris said that it may have changed football. "It did come at a bit of a turning point for football. Until that point it was all very laddish. After 'World in Motion' everybody got a bit loved-up with it."
10. Barnes recently revealed that he had to do a rap-off with Paul Gascoigne, Steve McMahon, Peter Beardsley and Des Walker before he was picked to perform the rap. The question is - did Gazza cry when he lost out that time too?
By the way, the song that would knock "World in Motion" from it's lofty perch at #1? "Sacrifice" by Elton John. For shame!
Produced by the great Trevor Horn and appearing on the album Introspective, as well as being one of the longest tracks in their musical repertoire, "Left to My Own Devices" by the Pet Shop Boys was intended to be an "experiment in seeing how mundane a pop song could be, before setting it against extravagant music," according to lead singer Neil Tennant. No doubt, the song adds touches of classical music, specifically orchestral phrases culled from Claude Debussy's "Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune" ("Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun"), to the proceedings. However, this mundane song is rife with supposedly biographical or semi-biographical information from Tennant's youth that he ambiguously puts on display topped off with an idiomatic title. Whether lyrics about "roundheads" (a reference to Pro-Parliamentary forces in the English civil war) the sun and brochures and Che Guevara are self-referential terms about the Boys' "alternative" lifestyles is a matter of conjecture and I'll leave it to smarter people than myself to pour over the details. Frankly, I don't care what the meaning. I prefer just to listen and enjoy.
In a previous episode, I mentioned the numerous contributions of Nick Rhodes to the success of Duran Duran. Perhaps his biggest was that of a visionary as he quickly seized on the potential of the music video. He was the one who pushed the band toward more elaborate productions, a somewhat questionable decision at the dawn of the 80s as the phenomenon that would come to be known as MTV was still months away from its eventual August 1, 1981 launch date. Not to mention, at that time, nobody could have actually predicted the overwhelming success of the network and the lasting impact it would have on the music industry. Released in July of 1981, "Girls On Film" was the third single from Double D's self-titled album. Interestingly, it was the band that chose the song to be their third single after a dismal showing by the second single, "Careless Memories", a song that had been selected by their label, EMI. Though "Careless Memories" reached #37 in the UK, it was perceived as a failure because the first single, "Planet Earth", had been a Top 20 hit. "Careless Memories" was also the song chosen to herald the soon-to-be released full-length album. That the band chose "Girls On Film", a staple at live performances, as the group's third single was fortuitous. It helped album sales overseas, though it did not initially chart in the US. After the follow-up success of the Rio album in 1982, their first album was re-issued in the states in 1983 and became certified platinum in 1985. While the song is no doubt a great one, it was the video, which was originally filmed in 1981 a few weeks prior to the launch of MTV, that made serious waves and caused serious consternation among parents and network censors. The uncut version circulated regularly on the Playboy Channel as it was deemed too pornographic for MTV. It was also banned on the BBC. A heavily-edited "day" version was created for regular airplay and is the one with which most of us are familiar. And though the song had already achieved chart success, it was that video, directed by Godley & Creme, that kept people talking and kept the band firmly in the public eye. Simon Le Bon would later lament that the scandalous nature of the video obscured the message of the song, which was about the exploitation of models in the fashion industry.
To end this episode, I figured I'd include the most reviled song in the Depeche Mode catalog. Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but both Martin Gore and Alan Wilder have, on numerous occasions, described "It's Called A Heart" as their least favorite single ever recorded by DM. Wilder admitted he was "anti even recording, let alone releasing it". So, why the high level of disdain for the song? Seems the band, especially Wilder, thought that the b-side, "Fly On The Windscreen" was a stronger song and should have been released as the band's next single at the time. Apparently, the record label didn't like the fact the first word of the song was "death". Yet Wilder argues:
"I fought tooth-and-nail on behalf of the B-side Fly on the Windscreen which was far superior. To me, the whole thing was a serious backward step. I felt we'd worked diligently to build up recognition for a harder sound, with more depth and maturity, and here was this ultra poppy number that did nothing for our reputation."
When asked in an interview if he could turn back time and do something over again, Wilder responded:
"I don't think I'd change much, apart from some of the hair styles and those daft boots I wore in 101. Oh, and I'd also make sure that I missed my wake-up call on the day we made the video for It's Called a Heart." Wilder says of the video concept, "Quite how [Peter Care, the director] equated 'calling something a heart' with twirling cameras around on the end of a string in a field of corn in Reading dressed in a skirt, I'll never be able to tell you."
Wilder hated the song so much that he answered the question "In your opinion, what makes up a true DM fan?" with "Anyone who still gives us the time of day after having heard It's Called a Heart".
Remixes didn't fare much better in Wilder's eyes. He once commented on the "Slow Mix" version of the song, "...you do need to be particularly devout to endure it - slowing it down to half speed made it twice as long - probably not a very good idea - twice the agony."
Okay, so Alan Wilder doesn't particularly care for the song, but I LOVE IT! And since I'm curating this podcast, I included all 7+ minutes of the Extended Mix for your listening enjoyment.
That's it for this episode. I've got another podcast all figured out and I'll post it as soon I can find time to record it.
Thanks for tuning in/listening/reading!
CRC Retro Mix #40
November 01, 2015 07:39 PM PST
1. Secrets - Fiat Lux
Notes and other random things:
Sorry to everyone for the three-month vanishing act. Without boring you all to tears or making excuses, lets just say that raising a family doesn't leave one with much spare time to devote to things like podcasting. Nonetheless, I got another one done. Lots to like in this one, including some stuff I'm hoping even die-hard retro junkies may not be all that familiar with. Some notes will be forthcoming as I find time to clack out deets. In the meantime, enjoy the new tunes!
Update 3-6-16: I didn't find time to write up anything on this episode, though I will say that I included Kraftwerk to coincide with my getting to cross off a bucket list item. On October 9 of last year, I saw Kraftwerk live for the first time ever. Simply put, the show was amazing. Sure, only Ralf Hutter remains as one of the original members, but the visuals, the sound and the experience were as immersive as one could hope for. The videos were all 3-D as well adding to the sensory overload. The 2 1/2-hour extravaganza bridged the early classics with newer material and it was quite extraordinary sitting down the entire time with generally polite applause in between songs, at least until the clamor began, culminating in a triple encore. It was a show I won't soon forget. If the band should make it to your area, it is well worth the price of admission.
Think you know all there is to know about new wave, pop, synthpop, and early electronica from the 80s and 90s? Think again. Groove to a continuous mix of some of the great retro dance club classics, forgotten gems and rarities from one of music's greatest eras. Pop your collar, strap on a Swatch or five and enjoy!
DJ TINTIN PERSONAL NOTE 11/7/16: I HAVE NOW UPGRADED ONCE AGAIN TO A PRO ACCOUNT, SO BANDWIDTH ISSUES SHOULD BE NEGLIGIBLE ONCE AGAIN. PLEASE VISIT, LISTEN AND DOWNLOAD AS OFTEN AS YOU LIKE. TELL YOUR FRIENDS. TELL YOUR ENEMIES. TELL ANYONE WHO WILL LISTEN TO COME BY AND SAY HELLO! ABOVE ALL, ENJOY THE MUSIC! I guess you could say I've been a fully-fledged DJ for a while now, having had the good fortune to perform opening sets at a local 80s dance establishment called the Breakfast Club in Charlotte, NC from about 2005-2010. It was a chance opportunity and one that I relished until the night ran its course and came to an end. I started Clearance Rack Classics as a way to continue doing live mixes and to share great music with anyone willing to listen. Gone are the crowds and the funky fashions in this format, but gone also are the music mandates from club owners. Here, I get to play what I really want my audience to hear and not have to devote all my time to the "hits", so to speak. It's not that I have anything against the hits, but there is so much good music out there that begs to be heard. It seems that, as the years go by, more and more genres have been compartmentalized into about 75-100 songs that get repeated over and over in various media. The rest gets squeezed out or gets forgotten entirely. It is my hope that I can keep the dimming embers burning bright right here. Happy listening!
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