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 #31
July 16, 2011 09:30 AM PDT
1. Rio (Carnival Version) - Duran Duran
2. White Feathers - Kajagoogoo
3. We Live So Fast (Special Dance Mix) - Heaven 17
4. Always Hoping - Vicious Pink
5. Underneath the Radar (12" Remix) - Underworld
6. Photographic - Depeche Mode
7. Sex Dwarf - Soft Cell
8. Heaven is Waiting (Dance Mix) - The Danse Society
9. A Day (Remix) - Clan of Xymox
10. Dancing in Berlin (Dance Remix) - Berlin
11. Whip It - Devo
12. I Melt with You - Modern English
13. Just Like Heaven - The Cure
14. Never Say Never - Romeo Void
15. Chosen Time - New Order
Special Note from DJ Tintin: While originally recorded in 2011, I re-recorded this May 28, 2017 to correct a few of the recording glitches from the original post. Since the original post, I also found a remix version of "Heaven Is Waiting" by Danse Society, which I have substituted for the album version.
Notes and other random things: Every so often, I go real old school with the old school. The multiplier makes this podcast feeble decrepit school in some ways. Everything you hear in this one is roughly 1981-1985, the exceptions being Underneath the Radar by Underworld and club/radio mainstay Just Like Heaven by The Cure.
This episode begins with Duran Duran's Rio, the lead-off track for their album of the same name. The particular version here, the Carnival Version, is very similar to the original, though it contains a few more measures of instrumentation for a nice change of pace to the familiar one any retro lovers will know by heart. Stephen "Tin Tin" Duffy, known for his catchy 80s tune Kiss Me and for his band The Lilac Time, was the original vocalist for the band, though he left after a year figuring they would go nowhere. Simon Le Bon eventually became the frontman and the highly recognizable face of the group, though it's keyboardist Nick Rhodes with his flair for production and keyboard wizardry that really helped define the group's sound. An avid fine artist, he was acutely aware early on of the power that music videos could have on album sales, as any boy on the verge of his teens will recall from the early days of MTV. Though most guys at that age were taunted and teased mercilessly for listening to such flamboyant music, Duran Duran were an early guilty pleasure that found their way into my regular music rotation when I wasn't hanging out with the rabble-rousers.
Speaking of Mr. Rhodes, there is a larger connection between Duran Duran and Kajagoogoo, the second band appearing in this episode, than just the beat matching. It was Nick who discovered them and persuaded them to sign with EMI records despite a bidding war among three other record labels. He also helped produce their first album, White Feathers, along with Duran Duran producer Colin Thurston (who has made several appearances here on CRC doing work for Talk Talk and others). That album contained the title track heard here. An interesting side note: Nick also produced Kajagoogoo's biggest hit, Too Shy, which went on to top the charts in 1983. The kicker is that Duran Duran wouldn't have their own number one until later to the chagrin of Nick. I'm certain there are no sour grapes as Duran Duran went on to have a much longer career when all was said and done.
Over the past two episodes, the summer edition and this week's new wave edition, you may have seen and heard your fill of Modern English for a while. Both Face of Wood and now the heartbreakingly overplayed I Melt With You come from the band's second album called After the Snow. If I may say so, it is one of my all-time favorite albums. Vocalist Robbie Grey, Gary McDowell, Michael Conroy, Richard Brown, and Stephen Walker put together a sound that resonates with me more than any other: guitars, percussion, excellent vocal timbre and just the right level of keyboard accoutrements. I'm pretty sure that is the reason I fell in love with New Order and mid-80s The Cure as well. Produced by Hugh Jones, who did a lot of work with Echo and the Bunnymen, and released in 1983, After the Snow has great melodies, lovely arrangements and every song hits the sweet spot. And though I Melt With You was re-recorded and re-issued in '90, used in a Burger King ad, a Hershey ad, a Ritz ad, a Taco Bell ad and in cover form by Nouvelle Vague for automaker GMC, and overplayed on 80s flashback radio shows everywhere, if you can somehow transport yourself back in time and try to remember how you felt when you first heard it, you'll recall just how amazing this song still is. A little Modern English trivia: The band formed in Colchester, Essex in 1977 and were originally called The Lepers. Thankfully that didn't stick.
Heaven is Waiting from Danse Society represents the pinnacle of the band's early output. Kind of like B-Movie, they suffered from poor timing, ill-conceived decisions from label management and never really were able to capitalize on momentum. While recording the material for the Heaven is Waiting album, the guys sought to work with Ian Broudie, who produced for Echo and the Bunnymen, had his own band Care and later went on to form The Lightning Seeds. Anyway, Ian had other projects in the works and the band instead teamed up with Nigel Gray, who had worked with the Police and Siouxsie and the Banshees. It should have been a good fit, but Gray apparently had a rigid schedule consisting of 10am -5pm sessions. The problem was that even if a session was going well, he would call it a day at 5pm. The result was an album that, according to keyboardist Lyndon Scarfe, "was dull, lifeless, uninspired, and depressed the shit out of us." While the guys did eventually hook up with Brodie to retool the tracks, their Arista label decided to release the Stones cover 2000 Light Years from Home as their third single, something the band fought adamantly to prevent. Despite a video and a huge promotional push, the single failed to chart and it thus began their ultimate demise. Shame, really.
As founder of 415 Records, Howie Klein brought bands like Wire Train, Translator, Until December and Red Rockers to the fore. He later went on to become the President of Reprise Records from 1989 until 2001. In this episode, you'll hear one of the ultimate sexual equivocations from the 80s in the track Never Say Never by Romeo Void, another one of Klein's finds. Lead singer Deborah Iyall is Native American and if anyone could look less like how she sounds, Deborah would certainly qualify with her half-spoken, half-sung style. Though Romeo Void disbanded in 1985, she did a couple of solo albums and, having teamed up with songwriter Peter Dunne, is still performing live today, though they haven't quite generated the buzz that she and her band did in 1982 with this tune.
That's all for this episode. As always, if you like any of the music you hear, please support the artists. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the image above is from artist Patrick Nagel. His iconic work appeared on the cover of the Rio album by Duran Duran, though an alternate image was used on the 2001 limited edition remastered version. Nagel died in 1984 at the young age of 38. He was found dead in his car after suffering an apparent heart attack. Ironically, he had earlier participated in a 15-minute celebrity Aerobathon to support the American Heart Association.
So, on that happy note ... but I'll be back again soon with another episode, so there's that!
Thanks again to everyone for your continued support.
Summer 2011! Retro Mixtape #5
June 22, 2011 09:15 PM PDT
1. Sunshine Smile - Adorable
2. Face of Wood - Modern English
3. Here's Where the Story Ends - The Sundays
4. Touched by the Hand of God - New Order
5. See You - Depeche Mode
6. Anitina (The First Time I See She Dance) - M|A|R|R|S
7. There is a Light That Never Goes Out - The Smiths
8. Everybody Wants to Rule the World - Tears For Fears
9. Lemon - U2
10. Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You) - A Flock Of Seagulls
11. Fascination Street - The Cure
12. Nr 9 - Hooverphonic
13. Machine Gun - Slowdive
14. Dawning - Tamaryn
15. View From a Hill - The Chameleons
Notes and other random things: Once again, summer is upon us, so once again I decided it was time for another edition of the CRC Mixtape Series. These episodes are different from the regular ones in that the format is more akin to the mixtapes I used to make for friends "back in the day". The point of them, really, is that they give me an opportunity to shine the spotlight on excellent 80s and 90s tunes that aren't considered dance tracks per se. I'm not suggesting you can't dance to these songs if you so choose because, like raindrops from a downspout, pneumatic nail guns or utility trucks driving in reverse, anything that provides rhythm is technically dance-worthy. It's just that these tunes are not ones you would typically hear in a dance club. (note: Dancing to the tune of a pneumatic nail gun is dangerous!)
Because it is now officially summer, I decided to create another mix that has the feel of the solstice. For last year's summer episode, I used only tracks that had the word "summer" in the title, mentioned "summer" in the song or talked about things related to summer (such as Vacation by the Go-Go's). This time, I approached it a little bit differently. All the songs in this podast are ones to which I have vivid summer memories attached. Am I saying this episode is all about me? You bet! In fact, this episode of CRC will probably go down as the most self-indulgent, self-centered one of all-time. Granted, the music is still about the amazing artists, but the write-up here will have so many "I's" that it could be mistaken for a scallop ... because scallops have lots of "eyes". Get it? I's ... eyes ... um, yeah. So, anyway, it's going to be a lot like the show VH-1 Storytellers only I'm telling you stories about songs I never wrote in the first place! Doesn't that sound like fun, kids? Of course it does!
Now, before I begin, I'd like to point out that I'm not going to tell 15 stories. That would take way too long. Instead, I'm going to pick a few of my favorites and focus on those. I'd also like to point out that, for me, like for most of us, music has the power to create strong memory associations. Quite frankly, I had a boombox or walkman accompanying me just about anywhere I went during my formative years, so pretty much any song you can name has some association with it no matter how insignificant. Of course, growing up as a kid from the midwest in the 80s, radio DJs played an inordinate number of Phil Collins and Kenny Loggins songs, which means about 95% of my memories are associated with Sussudio or Danger Zone. For example:
Riding my bike to school - Danger Zone
Mowing the lawn - Sussudio
Eating Cap'n Crunch at the breakfast table while trying to block out my sister's face using the cereal box - Sussudio
Oreo-ing my buddy's new car - Danger Zone
Watching the movie Top Gun - Sussudio
The other 5% of my memories are much stronger because they are much more interesting. And thankfully they have much better soundtracks. Over the coming days, I’m going to post a few of these.
I’ll start with Lemon by U2. The year was 1993. Some friends and I took a road trip from Topeka, Kansas to Chicago. Destination: A New Order Concert. We had the car, the tunes, the Nintendo Game Boy and plenty of beer to tide us over for the 10-hour drive. U2’s Zooropa, having been released that year, was one of the albums we had with us and it received tons of airplay (or carplay as it were).
That weekend, we stayed in a rented house with some friends of other friends. We drank a ton of beer. We did tons of shots. I learned I don’t like cement mixers. On the way to the show, I complained that my meatball sub cost about $12, only to leave half of it uneaten because the meatballs were the size of bowling balls. It was Chicago and I should have known better. At the show, 808 State and The The opened. 808 State were fantastic, but there was still too much sunshine and not enough people in the seats when they took the stage. The The were solid, but I was disappointed when they did a slow, plodding version of Infected. New Order were good, but rather unremarkable as they tended to be live. After the show, I, being the most sober one there drove us back to our temporary home. “Most sober” should not be construed as “well enough to operate a motor vehicle.” I don’t recall much of that drive, only snapshots of lane lines as I tried my damndest to keep the car between them.
When we arrived home, everyone passed out from exhaustion, but mostly from acute alcohol poisoning. As for me, I stumbled to the couch in the living room where I too fell asleep. At some point in the wee hours, I was awakened somehow by a commotion at the front door. Half asleep and still in an alcohol haze, I could make out two silhouettes creeping into the house, carrying some bizarrely-shaped object between them. Rather noisily, they set it down by the front window and skulked off into the darkness. I did not move to investigate, nor did I care to find out what the object was. Shortly thereafter, I passed out once more as if nothing happened. Had the situation been reversed and had the two shadowy figures been carrying an object out of the house as in a robbery, I can honestly say that, in that state, I still would not have cared.
I cannot recall what time I awoke the following morning, but when I finally forced my eyes open, what greeted me was a glint of sunshine coming through the curtain, only it wasn’t a direct hit. Instead, it was a glancing blow from a USA Today paper box. Two of the guys had gone out in the middle of the night and had lugged the thing several city blocks to its current resting spot. Some people get angry when they drink. Some get melancholic. These two knuckleheads became information thieves.
Eventually the fun came to an end and we departed Chicago for Kansas. Only two of us stayed awake the entire trip and we split time in the driver’s seat. While the trip home was mostly uneventful compared to the weekend that was, at one point we nearly ran out of gas because we decided we didn’t want to fill up in a town that had the same name as one of our high school math teachers. Though it was funny at the time, little did we know the next exit was some 20 miles away. We almost didn’t make it, but our derring-do did help us find a hot dog stand that sold 50-cent cylinders of sustenance. Being at the point where hangovers turn to hunger pangs, I think I ate six of them.
The Zooropa album and, in particular, the song Lemon will forever remind me of this great summer adventure.
Rewind 10 years. It was 1983. Nearing teenager status, my world was starting to expand. I had more freedom to hang out with friends. Girls suddenly mattered. I was only six months or so away from arguably the greatest year for album releases in the decade that was the 80s. I was also six months away from seeing if my actual reality was going to be anything close to the one George Orwell had predicted decades earlier. I wouldn’t have that kind of opportunity again until 1999 when Prince’s then future-looking song about parties would undoubtedly have significance. But that day was still 16 years off. It would surely never arrive.
Of greater importance was the fact that I would be entering Grade 7 in the fall … junior high school. I had to act older and look cooler, but I couldn’t drive or get a job so that possibility was moot. I spent the dog days of summer with buddies and all the other degenerates at the public pool, trying to impress 16-year-old girls, who were usually nearby listening to Asia, by cannonballing off the high dive. The other option was to get as far away from home as our bikes would take us, wherever that may be. Some days we explored a quarter-mile long drainage tunnel that ran under the highway next to the cul-de-sac at the end of our street. We had the boots, the flashlights, the backpacks and everything. And we had to scale a chain link fence to get to it, adding to the sense of danger. It was Tomb Raider meets The Goonies before either ever existed. There was no gold or treasure to be found at the end of the trek, but there was a Dairy Queen.
My buddy John and I were the first two to conquer the tunnel. He liked Dungeons & Dragons and Dr. Demento, and often suffered from spontaneous nosebleeds. He also had cable television. I often stayed over at his place on weekends because of it. We stayed up late into the night. We watched music shows like Night Flight. We watched movies with Pia Zadora and other things we probably shouldn’t have on HBO. It was at his place that we decided it would be a great idea to go out on the balcony at 8 am one Sunday morning with his boombox and blare U2’s War album. Why I’ll never know. I Will Follow was gearing up for the second chorus when John’s mom stormed outside in her bathrobe and slippers, hands on hips, and exclaimed in a hushed maniacal tone, “What the hell do you think you’re doing!?”
Sometimes John came over to my place, but we didn’t have cable. Instead, we listened to music and played Nerf basketball in the hallway upstairs. It was wider than the typical hallway and more like a foyer which gave us ample room to do some creative playmaking. Because the door had to be closed for the goal to say in place, it wasn’t uncommon to smash face first into it when going in for a windmill slam. Those poor doors! Musically, we liked the Go-Go’s. We liked Adam Ant. But we also liked Van Halen and Black Sabbath. Our music supply came from those mail order cassette tape businesses that were popular back then. Buy one cassette at regular price and get 852 free … or something like that. All we had to do was order one more at regular price in the next six months. Of course, the regular price was about $63.45. Every month, they sent you a card. Every month you had to send that card back saying you didn’t want anything, otherwise they would mail you the selection of the month or something else you didn’t want and bill you for it. I wonder if my parents ever sent in those payments.
One afternoon, after listening to the Surf Punks and playing some Nerf hoop to Black Sabbath’s Live Evil, my buddy was about to head back home when he pulled a cassette from his bag. It was reddish orange and had some strange imagery on the cover. John said the music service had sent it to him, but he didn’t want it, so he offered it to me. The cassette was Listen by A Flock of Seagulls. Their song I Ran had been my favorite song since its release the previous year and, as most of my friends know, it completely changed my musical direction. It was so strange-sounding, but I loved it. I also had two copies of the song on 45 because I thought I had lost the first one at a school dance. I was so upset, I bought a second one with my allowance only to have the first one turn up weeks later.
Needless to say, I accepted the kind gift. The song Wishing was the first song on Listen, which was great because it made rewinding a cinch. I played it over and over again as I didn’t really know any of the other songs. At that time I was all about the hits. Over the years, I learned to appreciate the other tracks. I would also learn to appreciate that the cover image was drummer Ali Score’s silhouetted face overlaid on a circuit board and that Bill Nelson produced (It’s Not Me) Talking. By then, I had also learned that Prince’s song was way off the mark after all.
Wishing will always remind me of that wonderful summer in 1983.
Well, I think I've bitten off more than I can chew with this write-up. I have enough time constraints lately trying to post new episodes of music let alone trying to find a block of time to hack up personal stories from my youth. Don't get me wrong: it's a great exercise and perhaps the stories were even mildly enjoyable for many of you, but I think this write-up was a bit ambitious even for someone who can't get his keyboard to shut up. Therefore, I'm going to stop here on the stories, but you'll be glad to know I've assembled the tracks for my next podcast and it's just a matter of finding the time to record it. I'll cross my fingers that I get the chance tomorrow or perhaps Saturday morning.
Before I move onto the next episode, there is one thing you should know: I have once again reached my allotted storage space for this podcast. Those of you who have been here since the beginning know that I upgraded to a PRO account last summer because I didn't want to worry about bandwidth or storage issues. While it was worth the expenditure, I simply don't have the funds to upgrade once more. So, moving forward, I will be removing older episodes as I go to make room for newer ones. I will keep them in my personal archive, but they will no longer be available on my podcast page. So, if you haven't yet downloaded episode 3 or some of the earlier 'casts and you want to do so, now is the time. They may resurface at a later date as a "Best of CRC" episode or something, but for now they will be going away as I have no other choice. The good news is there will always be about 25-30 episodes available at any given time, so you'll have lots of good retro stuff to listen to at your leisure.
Thanks again to all my listeners for tuning in and check back soon for a brand new episode!
CRC Retro Mix #30
May 28, 2011 09:40 AM PDT
1. What Time is Love? (LP Mix) - The KLF
2. Make it Mine (v 1.0 Progress Mix) - The Shamen
3. Blue Eyed Pop (S1000 Mix) - The Sugarcubes
4. Love Baby - Fortran 5
5. Break 4 Love (Razormaid! Mix) - Raze
6. The Beginning (Roundabout Mix) - Seal
7. Walking Away (S.M.D. Mix) - Information Society
8. Don't Tell Me (Dance Remix) - Blancmange
9. Snappy (12" Remix) - Erasure
10. Beat of Life - Anything Box
11. Je T'aime (Extended Mix) - Vicious Pink
12. Bitter Heart (Razormaid! Mix) - Seona Dancing
13. Regret (The Fire Island Mix) - New Order
14. So Weit Wie Noch Nie (Erlend Oye Mix) - Jurgen Paape
15. The Caterpillar (Flicker Mix) - The Cure
Notes and Other Random Things:
Happy Memorial Day Weekend to all my US listeners and happy regular weekend to everyone else around the globe. The occasion here in the states marks a time of sun, friends, family, icy beverages and plumes of smoke wafting from the grills and barbeque pits of backyards everywhere. But it also marks a time of quiet reflection and giving thanks to the men and women in the Armed Forces who have served our country and have, in some cases, given their lives to protect our shores. It is thanks to their bravery and their willingness to put everything on the line that the rest of us have the freedom to over-eat, get sloppy drunk and moon my television while screaming obscenities at whichever NASCAR event happens to be on.
Oh, don't tell me you haven't done it.
Anyway, even though it doesn't seem like nearly enough, a heartfelt "Thank You" to all those in uniform. Heroes - all of you.
On such a patriotic day for us in the states, and with my being one of its inhabitants, I almost feel guilty including songs with foreign lyrics like Vicious Pink's French-inspired Je T'aime and Jurgen Paape's So Weit Wie Noch Nie. The latter song includes samples from an artist named Daliah Lavi, whose lyric appears in a 1972 track called Vielleicht Schon Morgen. Mind you, I have nothing against the French and the Germans. One makes great fries and the other exceptional gummy bears. It's just that on a day like today, I somehow feel like the whole podcast should be nothing but John Philip Sousa samples sprinkled into a mash-up of The National Anthem and Take Me Out to the Ball Game, you know? But because none of those are 80s tunes (or 90s tunes for that matter) that would never happen. Of course, considering that this podcast sort of strayed from a typically unwavering adherence to the 80s & 90s theme anyway, I suppose I could have chosen that path.
For instance, the Jurgen Paape track is actually a 2002 release. It just fit so well with New Order's Regret that I couldn't resist. Also, astute listeners will hear an MC5 sample right at the beginning of the KLF track What Time is Love? Yeah, that's lead singer Rob Tyner screaming, "Kick out the jams, M0+#er Fu(k=r!" And if you listen closely and know well your old people music, you will hear a number of other samples including a highly recognizable "1 ... 2 ... 3 ...4" from the Beatles in the remix of Make it Mine by The Shamen; and "It is time ..." a chopped up sample from Chrissy Hynde of The Pretenders in the track Love Baby by Fortran 5. The original lyric appeared in the song Stop Your Sobbing.
Back to the KLF … James Cauty and William Drummond have appeared in an earlier episode of CRC. At that time, I mentioned how musically irreverent they were and how glaringly insubordinate they were to the music industry as a whole. It seemed as if everything they did was merely to get a reaction out of the public or to challenge the accepted definitions of art. One read of their hilarious and very tongue-in-cheek book How to Have a Number One the Easy Way will support that notion, but it doesn’t mean they didn’t pen some very infectious and highly danceable tracks in the process. What Time is Love?, despite dripping with mid-range frequencies, is one of them. Now, pay attention because here are some names that you should know as they helped make the song what it is:
Isaac Bello: he’s the guy who does the rapping in the song.
Wanda Dee: she’s responsible for the “I wanna see you sweat” lyric
And then there are P.P. Arnold and Katie Kisson, who yell “Mu Mu!” at various intervals. How’s that for a resume builder?
The Sugarcubes make their second appearance on CRC with the excellent remix of Blue Eyed Pop. As most Bjork fans know, the Icelandic collective is where the pint-sized pop star first gained international acclaim, though she had been involved in music from a very young age, even recording her first album at age 11. She has also had a brilliant solo career and contributed vocals to the song QMart on the 808 State album Ex:el. This mix of Blue Eyed Pop was done by S1000. The DJ/production duo consisted of Mike Koglin and Spencer Williams. Koglin has gone on to become a very prominent trance DJ and producer these days, running his own record imprint called Noys Music. To those younger listeners with a larger familiarity with the trance scene, he had a huge club hit in 1998 with a track called The Silence, which was a reworking of Depeche Mode’s Enjoy the Silence.
Raze were conceived by American producer Vaughn Mason with singer Keith Thompson contributing vocals. Though Break 4 Love was released in 1988, Thompson also did the vocal honors on a track called Jack the Groove in 1986. That song was one of the very first house music chart topping tracks in the UK, creeping into the top 20 at one point. The Pet Shop Boys and Peter Rauhofer, who also performed under the name Club 69, did a cover of Break 4 Love in 2001. Using the name The Collaboration, the track appears on the bonus disc of the album Release and as a b-side to the second disc of their single Home and Dry. The Razormaid! version here is pretty filthy at points, thus the Explicit tag on this podcast. It’s a pretty muddy, steamy affair anyway, but some of the samples might make you squirm a bit if you’re within earshot of your parents while listening. Why on earth you would put yourself into that predicament anyway is beyond me. Then again, as the guy who just admitted he moons his television, I probably don't have much room to judge. You probably don’t want to play this one around your kids either, unless you’re prepared to answer a LOT of questions.
Information Society have appeared on CRC several times in the past and they will appear again in the future. I’ll let the band themselves tell you about this particular track. I’m still trying to figure out what S.M.D. stands for.
“This was the 2nd single released off the ‘first’ album. It did almost as well as What's On Your Mind, getting to #9 in the top 40 in the fall of '88. The video got a lot of MTV airplay. We had a big problem with this one in the studio. When we were mixing, and we got to the vocals, they sounded distorted in a very strange manner. Of course, the first thing we did was to solo the vocals to hear what was wrong with them. Then we couldn't hear anything wrong with them, so we shook our heads and went back to mixing. Then they sounded distorted again. Only WITH the tracks did they sound distorted. Eventually we realised that the super-heavy TR-808 kick drum sound was creating the ILLUSION of distortion in the vocals, similar to the effect of talking into a fan. We had to remove the super-sub-kick during the vocals sections.”
They went on to say, “It was on this single that we began to realise how little control a band, especially a dance band, really has over its re-mixes. We rejected the Shep Pettibone mix outright. It went on the CD anyway. We really didn't like the "The Space Age" samples in the Space Age mix, they stayed.”
Hmmmm. I think I’m getting some pretty good ideas about what the S, M, and the D might stand for now!
Erasure are no stranger to this podcast nor will they ever be with the sheer volume of catchy dance tracks Andy Bell and Vince Clarke have cobbled together over the twenty-plus years they have been together. Snappy is the b-side to the song Chorus, which appeared on the album of the same name. This 12” mix was produced by uber-producer extraordinaire Martyn Phillips. Fans of Erasure (and Depeche Mode for that matter) might be interested to know that an album collaboration between Vince Clarke (an original member of DM) and Martin Gore is forthcoming. On August 27th of last year, Clark shared via Twitter that he and Gore had recorded a track called “Zaat”, which was to appear on the next Erasure album. The two apparently had enough creative energy together to crank out a full-length. As far as I know, no dates have been set for either release at this point.
Last, but not least, I wanted to write a few words about Seona Dancing (pronounced like Shawna). The knowledge has gained a bit of traction with the success of The Office in the UK and all his other pursuits, but Seona Dancing was the musical outlet for one Ricky Gervais when he was but a skinny little gothy/new wavy-looking kid back in the day. They had two single releases: this song and one called More to Lose, but after both achieved only modest (and apparently unofficial) chart positioning, he and friend/bandmate Bill Macrae decided to call it a day in 1984. Gervais is certainly not regretting that move, though any lovers of 80s electronica might beg to differ. As a side note, if you have small kids, do yourself a favor and don't let them listen to Break 4 Love. Did I already say that? In all seriousness though, get Ricky's excellent Flanimals series of children’s books. I happened to pick up the first one a few days ago and it’s really quite funny. It’s a brief biography of a bunch of non-sensical creatures with non-sensical names along with descriptions of their habits and behavioral traits. It’s a very entertaining read, I must admit. I also must admit I think I bought it more for myself than for anyone else. Hey, I do an 80s podcast. What kind of maturity level do you think you’re dealing with here?
Thanks to everyone for listening. I hope to be back again soon with another episode. In the meantime, enjoy this one and be sure to support the artists you like. Without their efforts, none of this is possible.
CRC Retro Mix #29
May 11, 2011 08:38 PM PDT
1. Tears are Not Enough (Extended Version) - ABC
2. White Boy - Culture Club
3. Some Distant Memory - Electronic
4. Desire - T42
5. Adonde (Razormaid! Mix) - Cetu Javu
6. Drama (Act 2) - Erasure
7. Gas Stop (High Octane Mix) - Boxcar
8. People are People (Different Mix) - Depeche Mode
9. A Letter From Afar (Big Mix) - B-Movie
10. Lose Him (Original 12" Version) - I Start Counting
11. Play to Win (Disco Mix) - Heaven 17
12. Lifestyle - Elektric Music
13. Round & Round (Merry Go Mix) - New Order
14. Your Love Takes Me Higher (The Pod Went Pop Mix) - The Beloved
15. Falling Rain - Celebrate the Nun
Notes and other random things:
You might be wondering what's up with the cake pic. Well, considering it says Happy Birthday it should be pretty obvious: it's almost Memorial Day here in the U.S. That has nothing to do with the cake, but I just thought I'd point that out. Really, it occurred to me this week that at the time of my last podcast it was almost exactly one year ago that I began CRC.
One year ... hard to believe that much time has elapsed. It seems like just yesterday that today was called tomorrow. You know what they say about time ... that's it's lost a pretty big market share to Newsweek over the past decade. Really though, it apparently sprouts wings and floats about when you're having fun. And doing this show has been a blast thus far. Sure, it took awhile to get the recording process down. And it takes effort to try to come up with totally fresh episodes each week. And sometimes my joints ache when the weather is bad. That last one has nothing to do with the podcast, but it shows you my dedication and the lengths I'll go to get some great music to you, my listeners.
And speaking of listeners, had anyone told me when I started this thing that a guy with a cheap mixer, sizeable retro music collection, faulty joints, inability to do short write-ups and a dream could record a retro mix 'cast from his media room in Charlotte, NC and be listened to in 71 countries around the globe, I would have told them I'm hungry. But after I got some food, I would have said that he or she was crazy.
I want to personally thank each and every one of you for sticking with me this far, but that would take an awfully long time, so I'll just have to do it in this mass message. I hope you'll continue to come along for the ride for as long as I'm willing and able to do this podcast. How long will that be? Well, I admit I can't see into the future ... at least not very far. I do know I will be having a bowl of Lucky Charms at some point in the next half-hour, but other than that, my powers of saying sooth are not all that good. But, with a little luck, some effort on my part to shirk my other responsibilities, and a good comb I hope I'll be celebrating a second anniversary with you all around this time next year.
I think I'm going to skip the band write-ups for this week, though I may cover one or two of these bands over the weekend, since they are making their first appearances on CRC. I just had so much else to write and the pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, green clovers and blue diamonds are calling my name. Oh, and I'm about to go get a bowl of Lucky Charms too.
Cheers to all of you and thank you so much for listening! You all are the best!
I mentioned that I would probably write a bit about some of the bands in this episode because they made their first appearances in CRC. Well, here it is!
I'll start with Culture Club. Now, you'd have to be very, very young or living in a very remote cave not to know or have heard about Boy George. Granted, those of you who are very young may only remember images of George O'Dowd in an orange jumpsuit sweeping up rubbish on the streets of New York as part of a community service arrangement in regard to drug charges and a false burglary charge. Many of you will remember the crazy outfits and androgynous appearance of the flamboyant lead singer during the group's heyday. What you may not know, aside from the handful of singles and MTV success in the mid-80s, is that the band were really a talented collective of musicians and had a lot of soul about them. The track here, White Boy, is evidence of that. The song was the first single released by the band, though it was a commercial disappointment despite heavy radio play. That fact doesn't make it any less amazing or addictive. As the story goes, Jon Moss, the drummer of the band, paid a visit to producer Steve Levine and John Howard in 1982 with a demo tape of three songs, including White Boy. Howard immediately pinpointed the track as the standout of the bunch and it was released three months later. If you've ever heard any of CC's early work, you would agree that the track has something about it ... a groove, a lyrical smoothness, a catchy chant-type chorus ala Nitzer Ebb's Join in the Chant - something that sets it apart. So, it was a bit of a shock that the track didn't do better upon its release. A second single, I'm Afraid of Me, was received even more poorly than the first. However, it was the appearance of graffiti on walls around London, stuff like "Culture Club Rule OK" that convinced Howard there was something abuzz about the band. Howard had seen the same thing a year or two earlier with Adam Ant on the heels of a few of their disappointing first singles. The CC camp felt that they just needed to release the "right track" and the dominoes would all fall into place. Interestingly enough, that track would end up being Do You Really Want to Hurt Me, interesting because it was originally added to the their first album Kissing to be Clever as filler material. Crazy how things work sometimes.
T42 have appeared on CRC once before, the Thanksgiving episode to be precise, but I have to give a shout out to these guys from Texas as they were one of many Dallas/Ft. Worth bands on the rise during my college days. Jay Gillian and Will Loconto were the prime movers of this duo and they released a handful of catchy, electronic jingles that can still motivate dance floors today. The song here, Desire, was produced by Paul Robb from Information Society and became their biggest hit. I vaguely recall going to a record release party for the song. Seems like they played the track just about every hour or half hour in support and while that would seem like overkill, it's just not a song of which you can tire easily. It's one beautiful pop gem.
I want to mention Cetu Javu briefly. If you recall, they are the German band of Spanish heritage who sang the bulk of their tracks in English. They also have appeared on CRC several times in the past, but the track here, Adonde, is an example of their Spanish-influenced electronic pop. The orignal version of the song appeared on the fantastic album Southern Lands. While you can still find the first issue of the album floating around, it was reissued a few years back. If you're a fan of electronic pop music, Southern Lands is a must-have. It's solid from start to finish and includes perhaps their two biggest hits, Situation, which appeared on CRC #1 and Have in Mind, which appeared on CRC #7.
Finally, I want to mention Elektric Music. If the studio wizardry and bizarre sampling seems remotely familiar then you are probably a Kraftwerk fan. Elektric Music is a not-so-side project of Karl Bartos, the percussionist portion of the classic four-man Kraftwerk lineup. The band was founded in 1992 when Bartos became a little frustrated at the tortoise-like pace Ralf Hutter and Florian Schneider, both founding members of Kraftwerk, had adopted in the studio. Their perfectionist tendencies spurred Bartos to branch out and do his own thing. The track here, Lifestyle, is the fourth track on EM's debut album, Esperanto. My favorite track, TV, which leads off the album is a song I'm dying to include in one of these episodes, but the BPMs are so low that it is going to be a bit of a challenge. Perhaps I'll figure out how to include it in one of my Mixtape episodes. Anyway, Bartos has worked closely with Bernard Sumner (vocalist from New Order) and Johnny Marr (former guitarist for The Smiths and The The), penning songs for the duo's Electronic project and their second full-length album, Raise the Pressure, which was released in 1996. Bartos has also worked with OMD's Andy McCluskey. Their collaborative efforts can be found on the OMD album Universal and on the songs Show Business and Kissing the Machine, both from Elektric Music's Esperanto album. For tech junkies, you might be interested to know that Karl Bartos released an iPhone app called Mini-Composer in March of this year. It's a rudimentary 16-steps sequencer with 4 basic waves synthesizer. It was designed with the help of Japanese artist Masayuki Akamatsu and executive producer Jean-Marc Lederman.
Again, thanks to everyone for listening. I'll be back with another episode really soon. Hang tight!
CRC Retro Mix #28
April 25, 2011 08:13 PM PDT
1. Quiet Room - Images In Vogue
2. AEIOU Sometimes Y - Ebn-Ozn
3. Cars (Razormaid! Mix) - Gary Numan
4. Tears - Psyche
5. You - (Razormaid! Mix) - Axodry
6. U.S.O.E. - C.C.C.P.
7. That Way Again - Seven Red Seven
8. Pineapple Face (Crimson Clover Mix) - Revenge
9. My Heart Goes Bang (Get Me to the Doctor) ( Extended Remix) - Dead Or Alive
10. Destination Eschaton - The Shamen
11. Scream Down at Me (Razormaid! Mix) - China Crisis
12. Girls on Film (Night Version) - Duran Duran
13. One Thing Leads to Another (Extended Version) - The Fixx
14. Tesla Girls (Razormaid! Mix) - Orchestral Manouevers In The Dark
15. That's Love, That it Is (Extended Remix Version) - Blancmange
Notes and other random things:
First, a Happy belated Easter to everyone. Yes, the write-up is a week late, but if I don't say that then the picture of that mushy sugar mess known as Peeps doesn't really make much sense. I apologize for the declining frequency of the 'casts lately and the delayed write-ups, but if the notion of quality over quantity ever needed to be applied, now would be a good time for it. I think it's John Lennon who once said that "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." John Lennon said lots of things, not all of which I agree with, but he is quite right about that one. Don't worry: it's nothing bad or foul or vile. Actually, it's quite exciting stuff that I may reveal somewhere down the line, but for now I'll opt to keep some private things private. I know, I know. I'm such a tease sometimes. But let us get to the real reason you're here ... the music.
Images In Vogue have appeared once before on CRC with the great tune Lust for Love. Quiet Room was recorded between November 1981 and February 1982. As mentioned earlier, the band formed in Vancouver, Canada in 1981 and featured one Kevin Crompton on percussion. You may remember he went on to form the industrial band Skinny Puppy. Interestingly enough, he left Images In Vogue and stayed behind in Vancouver after convincing the group to move to Toronto thinking it would be easier to conduct their business there. Throughout the course of their decade-long career, they went through several line-up changes, but did open for Depeche Mode in 1982, Bryan Adams in 1983, and Duran Duran on the Seven and the Ragged Tiger tour in 1984. The band called it quits in 1991, gathering for a one-off show at Toronto's Opera House in 2002.
CRC Retro Mix #27
April 02, 2011 09:12 PM PDT
1. The Gap (Phil Thornalley Mix) - Thompson Twins
2. Turn Your Back on Me (Extended Mix) - Kajagoogoo
3. Burning Flame (Extended Dance Mix) - Vitamin Z
4. Need You Tonight (Liebrand 12" Mix) - INXS
5. I Touch Roses (Long Stemmed Version) - Book Of Love
6. Heaven (Club Mix) - Camouflage
7. West End Girls (Razormaid! Mix) - Pet Shop Boys
8. Enjoy the Silence (Tintin's Static Dub Bum Mix) - Depeche Mode
9. Fade to Grey (Extended) - Visage
10. Imagination - Xymox
11. Don't Leave Me (Special Radio Edit) - Cetu Javu
12. Bizarre Love Triangle (Extended Dance Mix) - New Order
13. New York, New York (Dancefloor Cut Mix) - Microchip League
14. Quite Unusual - Front 242
15. Smooth (Razormaid! Mix) - Cabaret Voltaire
Notes and other random things: This particular episode has a rather strange musical arc to it. It begins with a very frou frou friendly pop burst, settles into a classic alternative retro groove and then ends formidably with a trio of industrial-tinged beauties. As I've mentioned before, these progressions just sort of happen. I don't really plan them, which might explain away some of the unlikely combinations. Then again, maybe, as Depeche Mode sang, I got the balance right for some of you. Either way, I hope you'll find something to like here because there is undeniably plenty on offer.
Thompson Twins have appeared several times before on CRC, usually at the beginning of these episodes as their BPM counts tend to be on the low side. Nevertheless, this track, like the others, is a classic. The original version of The Gap appeared on 1984's Into the Gap album. It was the first of the band's albums to reach platinum status in the U.S. Hold Me Now, Doctor! Doctor! and You Take Me Up were all from that album and were all massive hits for these guys. Thomas Bailey and Alannah Currie, the two constants in the group, formed the band Babble after the dissolution of Thompson Twins. If you haven't already, you should take a listen to them. It's a much more moody and ambient project compared to their pop stuff, but it's a phenomenal listen.
A couple of episodes ago, I mentioned the name Colin Thurston. He was a big time producer who did work for Duran Duran and Talk Talk in the early 80s. Well, here he is again doing the production honors on this great track by Kajagoogoo. The band will forever be known for Too Shy and for lead singer Limahl's trademark spiky locks with mullet, but they did have many other catchy songs (and bizarre hairstyles) in their repertoire. This would be one of them. Though it didn't chart in the U.S., Turn Your Back on Me reached #47 in the U.K. 26 years ago this past March 13. How time flies.
Vitamin Z were more or less a one-hit wonder and depending on what kind of clubs and radio stations you had access to growing up they may be a no-hit wonder. Despite their lack of hit making, the band is notable on several fronts. Besides touring with Tears for Fears, they were only the second collective of Western Europeans to be allowed to film in Turkey, the first being the crew for the movie Midnight Express. (By the way, a sample from that movie turned up on Nine Inch Nails first album Pretty Hate Machine.) They were there to film their video for the song Circus Ring (We Scream About). Also, for current music buffs, lead singer Geoff Barradale is now the band manager for the Arctic Monkeys. In regards to this mix of Burning Flame, band member Nick Lockwood recalls, "Burning Flame was our first release and indeed the first song we wrote together. When we recorded this song, it was our first time together in the recording studio and for me was the beginning of a very long learning experience, which continues to this day." He went on to say the track has special significance for him marking a period of of "beginnings, innocent times, and high hopes."
I haven't had INXS on CRC at all, mostly because I just don't own many dance remixes by these guys. Without the extra measures of pure beats, it's quite hard to mix as much of their work is in the 3-4 minute range. This Liebrand 12" Mix by Ben Liebrand is one I do own. It's a bit more electronically oriented than the original, but a great mix no doubt. The original version of Need You Tonight was the first single released from the fantastic Kick album, but it was actually one of the last songs recorded. The main guitar riff you hear was written by Andrew Farriss, one of the three Farriss brothers in the band. In the official INXS biography he talks about how the riff came to him while trying to hail a cab. Not wanting to lose it, he asked the driver to wait while he ran back up to his hotel room to get "something". Really, though, he ran back up to quickly record the notes, pissing off the cabbie in the process.
Truth be told, the Enjoy the Silence mix is not really anything I created. In reality, I merged the Ecstatic Dub Version of the song with the album version. Why? I love the electronic bass line of the song and wanted to hear more of it. However, the concoction still needed a name, so I searched real hard for something clever. Sadly, I didn't find it. So, I combined the two names and you have the Static Dub Bum Mix. In my mind, this was really the beginning of the end for Depeche Mode in my preferred state. The following album, Songs of Faith and Devotion, saw the addition of more guitar work; the subsequent drug problems that nearly killed lead singer Dave Gahan; and the departure of long-time fixture Alan Wilder, who went on to full-time duty in his Recoil project. As much as I love these guys, I contend that Alan's departure took a huge bite out of the musical arrangements that made classic DM so fantastic. It seemed after that a whole new generation of electronic acts were doing DM better than DM were doing DM. It's always sad to see childhood favorites slipping into the musical abyss, though they did briefly crawl back into daylight again with the incredible song Precious about five years back.
Imagination is one of my favorite Xymox songs from the Twist of Shadows album. The song Obsession from the same album really helped the group burst onto the underground dance scene. Band member Anke Wolbert performed the vocals on this song. Though the original lineup of Ronny Moorings, Pieter Nooten, Frank Weyzig and Anke Wolbert were nothing like the Beatles, I always looked upon her as the Ringo Starr of the band. Like Ringo on the Beatles albums, she usually had a token song to sing on every release. Unlike Ringo's campy creations such as Octopus' Garden, her vocalizations are quite haunting and it's perhaps a shame she didn't take the lead a little bit more. Check out the track Masquerade from the Medusa album as further proof. Here she is at her pop best as are the band as a whole. Xymox are sometimes referred to as the Godfathers of Goth and are still creating dark synth dance music today.
Cetu Javu have appeared on CRC previously. You may recall they are the Spanish band who reside in Germany and sing primarily in English. This version of Don't Leave Me will be a real treat for fans and listeners alike as it is actually in English. The original version off their really hard to find (and very expensive!) second full-length called Where is Where is in Spanish. I found this particular track on a remix compilation I recently bought. When I saw this track was not a remix, I figured it was just the album track, but was pleasantly surprised when the vocals kicked in and it was in English. I know that sounds dorky, but would I be doing a podcast full of 20-30 year old tunes and doing long write-ups like this if I weren't an 80s dork? I'm pretty aware that my dork status was cemented the first time I posted on this site.
Bizarre Love Triangle is a true dance floor classic in every sense. The version here was taken from the single and it's called the Extended Dance Mix. To prove my dorkiness, I thought I would mention that it's the same version that appears on the Substance compilation, though on Substance it does not have the dance mix designation. Instead, you have to go to the fine print where the great Shep Pettibone does get the credit for this gem.
Finally, Microchip League make their second appearance on CRC. In dance club circles, people knew them as MCL. When I first began listening to industrial music toward the end of the 80s, I knew this song as having been performed by MCL. It's kind of embarrassing to admit now, but I didn't immediately associate the initials MCL with Microchip League. So, when someone talked of Microchip League I didn't make the connection between the name and this song eventhough it's by far their best known dance hit. It packed floors back then and is still a killer tune all these years later. Though it has umpteen mixes in total, I chose the Dancefloor Cut Mix for this episode. As is the case with a lot of this early German electronica, Talla 2XLC had his hands all over the production of this project. His work has appeared in earlier episodes of CRC with bands like Robotiko Rejekto and Moskwa TV and will, I'm certain, be laced throughout for as long as I continue posting.
I always say I'm going to shorten these write-ups and then I fail. I'll try harder to be lazy in the future. I promise. As always, if you like any of the artists, be sure to support them as they make this all possible.
Until next time, happy listening!
Photo credit: aussiegall
CRC Retro Mix #26
March 16, 2011 08:27 PM PDT
1. XX21 (Remix) - Fortran 5
2. God Tonight - Real Life
3. Brand New Lover (Dust Monkey's Love Bubble Mix) - Dead Or Alive
4. Oh L'amour (The Funky Sisters Remix) - Erasure
5. Hey! Freethinker (Razormaid! Mix) - Voice Farm
6. State Farm (Madhouse Mix) - Yaz
7. Nothing to Fear - Depeche Mode
8. Relax (Ollie J Mix) - Frankie Goes To Hollywood
9. She's a Secretary (Gothic Mix) - Celebrate The Nun
10. Think (Virtual Reality Mix) - Information Society
11. Disappointed (808 Mix) - Electronic
12. Cubik (Kings County Perspective) - 808 State
13. Creation (Ultimatum Mix) - Stereo MC's
14. Behind the Wheel (Beatmaster Mix) - Depeche Mode
15. Subculture - New Order
It occurred to me the other day that I forgot to dip into the mailbag last week as I hinted I would the episode prior. Granted, the fact that I've been absent from 'casting for a few weeks could lead you all to believe I forgot about my listeners as well. Touche. The truth is, though, that is far, far from accurate. I think about my listeners from sunup to sundown and...okay, for much of the day anyway and...all right, I'm no good at deception. I keep my listeners firmly in mind from about 11:23 am to 11:26 am Tuesday mornings. There, you happy? But they are all good thoughts. Nothing bad...okay, maybe the occassional bad thing. Can we just move on now?
So, here is the mailbag for this week. It reads:
I love your show. You play so much great stuff and your mixing is brilliant. Oh how I wish I had your talent.
Well, thanks for that, Faye. I realize I'm not a household name or anything, but I've been a music collector for most of my life and I try to bring a diverse set of that music to you each week. Thanks for the props.
Oh, wait, there's a post script.
Okay...that's it for the mailbag this week.
The song selection in this week's 'cast consists mostly of high energy retro dance classics, like Oh L'amour by Erasure and Brand New Lover by Dead Or Alive. Both of those make up the "need more cowbell" portion of the episode. Then there are a few instrumental tracks, like Nothing to Fear by Depeche Mode, Cubik by 808 State and the lead off track XX21 by Fortran 5. That's about three times the normal amount of vocal-less boogie tunes, but the sampling in two of the tracks is sort of like vocals, so it's not so bad, really.
Fortran 5 were a collaboration between David Baker and Simon Leonard. The two orginally performed as I Start Counting, whom you may recall from a previous episode, and will recall from a future episode (that's called foreshadowing, people). The two are currently releasing music under the name Komputer. If you're big into Kraftwerk, you need to check out Komputer's first album World of Tomorrow. It's as close as anyone has come to duplicating their unique sound in recent years. And the tracks are solid for the most part, which makes it even better.
Dead Or Alive have made one prior appearance on CRC and now make their second showing with Brand New Lover. While Pete Burns and the boys were the soul behind the music, the brains go to a production collective by the name of SAW. Mike Stock, Matt Aitken, and Pete Waterman were responsible for defining much of the Hi-NRG British music scene in the early to late 80s. Acts like Divine, Dead Or Alive, Rick Astley, Debbie Harry and others owe some if not all of their success to these guys. They borrowed heavily from the Motown idea of using "artist development deals" to control all aspects of the music they created. They were also ruthless about protecting their own interests, bringing a lawsuit against the band M|A|R|R|S, for example, for the use of the word "hey" from one of their artists. While gaining early traction in the music press for their forward-looking dance music, they quickly received a lot of backlash for what many thought to be hypocritcal practices. It was claimed some of their artists borrowed heavily from that of their predecessors without giving due credit. Though it's all water(man) under the bridge now, there is no denying the impact these three had on the dance music that was to come later.
Voice Farm were a collective headed by Charly Brown and Myke Reilly. Originally from San Francisco, they garnered plenty of attention with their ridiculously over-the-top live performances and are still releasing music. Their latest album Super Nova Experts dropped in 2009. The track Hey! Freethinker originally appeared on their album "f" from 1987. There's a line in the song repeated over and over that takes some sleuthing to figure out. Though it sounds like "Not your ridicule" it's actually Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō. The phrase is a mantra central to the practice of Nichiren Buddhism, which is designed to help attain enlightenment. It's kind of ironic in a sense, because the song truly is on the verge of annoying in many respects, but it's still a classic no less.
The version of Disappointed by Electronic is probably one you haven't heard before. It's not my favorite iteration as I prefer the original, but this mix by 808 State worked better with the playlist, namely because 808 State's own Cubik appears right after making beat matching a breeze. 808 State have appeared before on a few occasions. Born in Manchester, the band took their name from the Roland TR-808 drum machine. Founding member Martin Price originally owned a record shop called Eastern Bloc. It was there he met Gerald Simpson and Graham Massey, who would become instrumental in the group's early success. Simpson left the band after only one year and formed the band A Guy Called Gerald, who have appeared in an earlier episode with the track Voodoo Ray.
Released in 1993, Creation was a track that originally appeared on Stereo MC's smash album Connected. Though they wouldn't do another album for almost a decade, their production work was in great demand during that period, doing remix projects for U2, Electronic, Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy and others under the name...wait for it...Ultimatum. No strange coincidence the version of the song here would be the Ultimatum Mix.
Depeche Mode appears twice in this episode. It's a Cardinal Rule that I only put no more than one DM and one New Order track on each episode, but I'm breaking it here because I couldn't get the Nothing to Fear track out of my brain this week. Appearing on their A Broken Frame album, this song finds Dave Gahan, Andrew Fletcher and Martin Gore in a transition phase. Founding member Vince Clarke left the group after their previous album Speak and Spell and Alan Wilder had not yet become a fully-fledged member, though he was recruited as a keyboardist to tour with DM in support of the album. It was at this point that Martin became the premier songwriter for the band. While Vince was more regimented in his approach, Martin was a little more resourceful, going about his work with just a voice, Casio keyboard and a foot tap. The success of See You from this album helped make them teen pop stars in the eyes of the media. While that song and Leave in Silence did appear on this album, it's not one of their best in terms of hit production, but it's great for those who want to see where the classic line-up began to split away from their beginnings and blaze a new trail all their own. For DM trivia lovers: the marching sound on A Broken Frame's track Shouldn't Have Done That was created by the feet of Blancmange, who were in the studio next door during the recording sessions for this album.
Released in 1985, Subculture appeared in Razormaid! Mix form in an earlier episode. The version here is taken from their Substance album. It originally appeared on the Low Life album, marking the second single released from that project. Peter Saville, the designer credited with all the New Order album cover artwork, claimed that this song was unworthy of his talent, so the 12" single is housed in nothing but a plain black sleeve. This particular version is the 7" edit and features vocals by Ish Ladesma of the 80s band Oxo.
Thanks for tuning in this week. As always, if you like what you hear, be sure to support the artists who make it all possible. I'll be back with another episode again soon.
CRC Retro Mix #25
February 18, 2011 09:59 PM PST
1. Messages (Razormaid! Mix) - Orchestral Manoeuvers In The Dark
2. Computer World - Kraftwerk
3. Perfect Kiss - New Order
4. Unveiling the Secret (Remix) - Psyche
5. Desperate But Not Serious - Adam Ant
6. Atomic - Blondie
7. It's Called a Heart (Razormaid! Mix) - Depeche Mode
8. Talk Talk (Extended Version) - Talk Talk
9. Space Age Love Song - A Flock Of Seagulls
10. Train of Thought (Extended Mix) - a-ha
11. The Sound of the Crowd (12" Version) (Complete) - The Human League
12. Uncertain Smile (12" Mix) - The The
13. Nowhere Girl - B-Movie
14. Cool Blue - Eurythmics
15. Tainted Love '91 - Soft Cell
Notes and other random things: I decided to go old school with this one and a bit more "fast school" as well. All of these songs fall somewhere between 1981 and 1987 and, in the case of OMD, begin at 130 bpm and climb from there. In the case of Soft Cell's Tainted Love, I included here the '91 mix because, like me, I figured many of you were tired of the original and may not have heard this version previously. It's not that the original isn't a great track, it's just that the song is one of those handful of 80s tunes that the powers that be have decided is playable during those high school flashback weekends on some radio networks. Therefore it gets overplayed to death. It's a shame, really.
OMD kicks off this episode. They have appeared a couple of times previously on CRC. You wouldn't guess it by their pop success throughout the 80s, but Paul Humphries and Andy McCluskey listened to a lot of weird music in their early days and performed under some weird monikers like Hitler's Underpants and The Id.
The weird music mentioned above included the band in the second spot, Kraftwerk. But, hey, one man's weird is another man's normal and to many electronic music lovers, these guys are pretty much the Holy Grail. Ralf Hutter, Florian Schneider, Karl Bartos and Wolfgang Flur are true pioneers in electronic music and, whether you like it or not, have influenced all electronic music to follow. The four represent the classic lineup heard here. Because OMD were so heavily influenced by Kraftwerk, I thought it would be fun to mix together a song from each band. You can definitely hear Kraftwerk-ian elements in OMD's earlier work, wouldn't you say? I think so too.
I mentioned my apparent aversion to writing about New Order in the last podcast. However, Perfect Kiss has several interesing notes. First off, it is the first New Order song to be released as a single simultaneously with its appearance on an album. The song is also notable for two animal noises: a frog and a sheep. The sheep noise appears at the end of the track so you won't hear it and the mix comes right at the point of the frog, but if you listen carefully you'll hear some of it. Apparently, drummer Stephen Morris was looking for any reason to use that sound because he liked it so much. There you go. Thank goodness he didn't have an affinity for Alpacas or White-faced Saki Monkeys.
Psyche have appeared several times on CRC and will appear again, I'm sure. As if taking your name from the b-side of a Killing Joke track, or galavanting around on stage wearing nothing more than shaving cream as an homage to Fad Gadget weren't cool enough, the track Unveiling the Secret, from the album of the same name, was perhaps their biggest (and coolest) dance hit from the early years. The album, on the France-based New Rose Records imprint, sold well enough in Europe, and the band made a big enough splash headlining for original synthpop duo Suicide that they were able to cobble together the money for a proper tour in support of the album. Though they have gone through several line-up changes over the years, the one constant has been leader Darrin Huss. Twenty-seven years and counting, Psyche are still creating dark synth music after all this time.
Talk Talk make their second appearance on CRC, with the classic It's My Life appearing in an earlier episode. The band were a strange mix of pop and avant-garde sensibilities, making them an extremely versatile band. Early on they were compared heavily to Duran Duran, having shared the same label and producer, Colin Thurston. After some early success, they added Tim Friese-Green on keyboards, who went on to co-produce Thomas Dolby's Golden Age of Wireless album and later produced Catherine Wheel's Ferment album. You won't see him in any of the publicity photos or videos and such as he preferred not to appear in them.
A Flock Of Seagulls make their second appearance on CRC with Space Age Love Song. Most of you into the 80s scene will know this song, but for me it has great memories. I used to dance to this song at school dances in 6th grade, not to mention it was AFOS' song I Ran that really changed my entire musical direction. Having grown up in Kansas, radio in those days was mostly what is now classic rock. I heard I Ran for the first time as I was getting ready for school one morning and it blew me away. It opened the floodgates to a whole new musical horizon and the rest, as they say, is SCIENCE! Sorry, still stuck on Thomas Dolby from the previous paragraph. I meant to say history.
The The make their debut appearance on CRC with the 12-inch version of Uncertain Smile. Lead singer Matt Johnson has without a doubt one of the most distinctive voices in all of music. The original version of this track appeared in 1983. Guitarist extraordinaire, Johnny Marr, joined The The after the dissolution of The Smiths and remained in the band from about 1989-1993. Interestingly enough, The The opened for New Order on the Republic tour in 1993 when I saw them in Chicago. Because Marr was in the band and Bernard Sumner was in New Order, we all secretly hoped Neil Tennant from the Pet Shop Boys was somewhere in tow so they would play some Electronic tracks. That never happened, of course.
B-Movie make their second appearance on CRC with the great track Nowhere Girl. This is the at-one-time-it-was-hard-to-find version that appeared on the Sire Records compilation called Just Say Yesterday. It's much slicker and better produced than the original. B-Movie never quite found their niche as a band. They could have gone the Soft Cell route, but had their own creative aspirations and they just never fit in anywhere. In fact, they were once described as "out of place as plaster ducks on a high tech wall." They did release three singles on the Some Bizarre label and a bunch of other tunes, but never put together a proper album until 1985. The album on Sire Records was a rehash of some earlier tunes and a new single, but by then it was too late. Not even a tour could sustain them as a band. The band has since been back together touring in recent years and there are several comps out containing BBC Sessions and songs that were originally released on the Dead Good label. They're not the same as actual full-length albums, but they give you a glimpse of what a full-length might have sounded like. If only...
Finally, Eurythmics also make their debut on CRC. Seems like they would have appeared by now, but it just didn't work out that way. Maybe it's because I'm always compelled to write "The" Eurythmics instead of just Eurythmics and leaving out the definite article makes me feel all weird, kind of like the music OMD used to listen to. I'm only kidding. Cool Blue is one of the better tracks from the Touch album that you might not have heard before. Granted, with the hits Here Comes the Rain Again, Right by Your Side and Who's that Girl making up the A-side of the album along with this particular track it would be easy to overlook.
That's it for this episode. I hope you enjoy this trip back through time.
CRC Retro Mix #24
February 01, 2011 08:51 PM PST
1. Let Me Go - Heaven 17
2. New Song (Extended Version) - Howard Jones
3. Domino Dancing - Pet Shop Boys
4. Living in a Box (Razormaid! Mix) - Living In A Box
5. I Don't Want Your Love (Curiosity Mix) - Duran Duran
6. What is Love? (Deeeee Mix) - Deee-Lite
7. Pablo - Beloved
8. I've Been Thinking About You (Def 12" Mix) - Londonbeat
9. Ride the Bullet (The DNA Remix) - Army Of Lovers
10. I Say Yeah (Razormaid! Mix) - Secchi
11. Intoxication (Dubfield Mix) - React 2 Rhythm
12. Dirty Epic (Album Version) - Underworld
13. X-ray - Camouflage
14. Russian Radio (Razormaid! Mix) - Red Flag
15. 1963 - New Order
Notes and other random things:
Believe it or not, I get a lot of great email from listeners, so before I get to the music, let's dig into the CRC mailbag:
Dear DJ Tintin,
You're always busy with your pod-thingy. What, you too much of a big shot to call anymore?
Heh...sorry, mom. Just trying to give people their fill of good retro music. I'll call you next week. I promise.
Okay, that's it for the mailbag this week.
As for the music, most of this episode is rather upbeat and fun with one glaring exception: 1963 by New Order. Regular listeners will notice that New Order turns up a lot in these podcasts, yet I've never really devoted much time to writing much about them. I don't know why that is, exactly. After all, they're one of my favorite bands of all time, so you'd figure I'd give them a ton of column inches in my write-ups. But, everything about the band has always been understated, from their lyrics, to their cover art, and even to their significance in music history. In a weird way, I suppose, my omissions might be a greater sign of respect for a group that managed for so long to conceal itself. I mean, they weren't much for interviews and their liner notes rarely revealed anything about the members. Heck, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, and Stephen Morris were sort of unwilling rock stars anyway, their new band coming about after the dissolution of Joy Division and the death of former band mate and lead singer Ian Curtis. There was some serious discussion as to whether or not they wanted to continue as a band after the tragedy. Thankfully, they did continue on. They overcame early criticisms of being a Joy Division sound-alike and eventually developed their own sound, creating some of the most memorable dance music from the 80s. Blue Monday, for instance, is still the top-selling 12" dance mix of all time. (Check out CRC #19 to hear the song.)
As for 1963, there is disagreement about its meaning. A superficial listen to the lyrics reveals a grim scenario whereby a man murders his lover and takes on another. The song is a recap of the failed relationship and seems to be sung from the perspective of the deceased. When taken into account with the date, 1963, however, the song, depending on what you believe, takes on a deeper significance. While much of New Order's music is left for open interpretation, as the band has said, it has also been said that lead singer Bernard Sumner wrote the song about the death of John F. Kennedy. According to some, Sumner had a theory that surmised JFK hired a hitman to kill Jackie so that he could be with Marilyn Monroe. History turned out differently and the bullets found a different target. So distraught was Monroe, she killed herself. The song, therefore, is sung from Jackie's perspective, begging John to spare her life. It's an interesting theory, but history will also show that Monroe died a year before Kennedy. Some have suggested the song refers to a soldier taking on another wife while fighting overseas and killing his domestic lover out of necessity or perhaps guilt. Some have suggested “Johnny” is a reference to Bernard's adoptive father John Dicken. Whatever the case, it's admittedly a sort of a down way to end a podcast lyrically, though the song's producer, Stephen Hague, has pointed out that it's the only song about domestic violence you can dance to. I'll hang my hat on that statement.
New Song by Howard Jones is the first appearance for HoJo on CRC. With few exceptions, his music was always positive, but when you’re a self-described optimist that glove would seem to fit. Listen closely and see if you don’t find similarities between this song and Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel. While it’s long gone now, Jones' distinctive Mohawk hairdo was quite the spectacle back in the day.
They were one-hit wonders in the U.S. with their 1987 hit Living in a Box, but the band of the same name had a second album that did quite well in Sheffield, England, their place of origin. The song Blow the House Down from the 1989 release Gatecrashing included Queen’s Brian May on guitar. This particular song is from their eponymous debut.
After Living in a Box, the podcast took an odd house-y kind of turn. Pablo has a dub feel and comes from Beloved’s remix album called Blissed Out. I’ve Been Thinking About You is the 12” version of the #1 tune by Londonbeat from 1991. The original appeared on their second full-length release called In the Blood. The first time I heard this tune, I thought it was Roland Gift and the boys from Fine Young Cannibals. A reasonable mistake, but a mistake no less. Ride the Bullet is the b-side of Crucified, probably the best-known hit from Army of Lovers. They always reminded me of Dead or Alive with Victorian-era costumes instead of drab-looking gothic clothes. This particular track was remixed by DNA, who has done many remix projects including the classic version of Tom’s Diner by Suzanne Vega (CRC #9)
I Say Yeah is an awesome dance track by Italo-Disco producer Stefano Secchi. This particular song is the Razormaid! remix of the track and features vocals by Orlando Johnson.
React 2 Rhythm grew out of the West London dance scene. The song here, Intoxication, was the second major release from the group, having signed initially to legendary producer William Orbit’s Guerilla Records imprint. This particular mix, the Dubfield Mix, was one of two by techno outfit Leftfield. The other was called the Clubfield Mix. At least half a dozen others remixed this track including pre-eminent 80s remixer Justin Robertson and John Digweed.
Underworld has appeared on CRC before with their track Skyscraper I Love You (CRC #17). Here they return with the album version of Dirty Epic from the same dubnobasswithmyheadman CD. It’s hard to believe the transformation these guys have gone through over the years and maybe even harder to believe Karl Hyde and Rick Smith have been making music together for over 30 years. Though they haven’t yet been on CRC, their early ‘80s outfit Freuer will make an appearance at some point in time.
Finally, there’s the Camouflage track X-ray. This version was taken from their limited, 2-disc, numbered best of collection called Rewind. In case you were wondering, I own pressing #3502. As the band puts it, they “liked the aura of the letters forming this word.” Before shooting the video, they wanted to watch the film The Man with the X-ray Eyes. The main character in the film is named Ray Milland. Because it took them ages to find a copy of the film they had watched as children, they eventually named the bonus track of the X-ray single In Search of Ray Milland. Bet you didn’t know that!
Seems like these write-ups keep getting longer and longer every new episode. I’ll have to work on shortening them. I just don’t want to gyp any of the bands out of their due glory, though I may have to concentrate on the songs that have really neat stories behind them in the future. I don’t know. We’ll see, I guess.
That’s all for this episode. I’ll be back again soon with more mail from the mailbag and some more groovy retro tunes. Until then…be good, everyone.
By the way, the image associated with this episode is Half Face with Collar by Roy Lichtenstein. It is significant not only for the high price it was supposed to fetch at auction (and didn’t), but for the fact it was completed in…you guessed it…1963. Thanks to the website artobserved.com for the great image.
CRC Retro Mix #23
January 14, 2011 04:01 PM PST
1. The Echoing Green - Cause & Effect
Notes and other random things: This past week in Charlotte was strange. We had our second snowfall of the year, one that managed to accumulate unlike most of the time when we may get a dusting of flakes. (Why does that sound like a bad Head & Shoulders shampoo script?) Sleet followed, snarling traffic and shutting down businesses for two and, in some cases, three days because we on the eastern seaboard are not equipped with a large fleet of snow removal vehicles. This second snowfall, too, was on the heels of a last minute White Christmas we had just weeks prior. It's a rare thing in these parts, but something that really made it feel like the season for a change. A balmy 48 degrees just never seems like opening present weather, you know?
Some other strange tidbits you might like to know:
Paul Engmann from Device later joined the band Animotion, who had the huge hit with the song Obsession. That track was written by prolific songwriter Holly Knight, a member of Device and the one responsible for the penning of Hanging on a Heart Attack, which you will hear in this episode. Knight has a ton of writing credits to her name, including 80s staples Love is a Battlefield, by Pat Benatar; Pleasure and Pain, by Divinyls; Love Touch, by Rod Stewart; and The Warrior by Scandal and Patty Smyth.
Echoing Green is one of my favorite tracks from Cause & Effect's 1990 self-titled first album. It was reissued in 1991 as Another Minute, which spawned the hits Another Minute and You Think You Know Her. Though founding member Sean Rowley, who produced the self-titled release on Exile Records, died from an asthma attack while on tour in support of Information Society in 1992, the band continued on and is still releasing great music.
If you haven't seen the video for Sweet Harmony, it's one of the great videos from the early 90s. Beloved lead singer Jon Marsh has continued to carve out a music career, contributing his vocal smoothness to tracks like Bent's Beautiful Otherness, and performing both as a solo artist and DJ.
The 1986 release of Sinful by Pete Wylie reached #13 in the UK. Wylie's band Wah! was one of the darlings of the music press, namely NME and Melody Maker, in the early 80s. In 1977, Wylie, Ian McCullough of Echo and the Bunnymen, and Julian Cope were members of the band Crucial Three, which lasted barely a month. Too many egos in a small room for that to ever survive, but to be a fly on the wall in those few weeks...wow. I'd love to hear something, anything, from that collaboration, though I don't think anything exists.
Iko Iko by the Belle Stars is a cover tune originally done by the Dixie Cups in 1965, though it was titled Jock-a-mo at the time. The song is an old New Orleans tune with West African roots, the term ayeko ayeko being a term meaning well done. The Belle Stars' version of the song appeared on the 1988 soundtrack for the film Rain Man.
In a previous podcast, I mentioned my Texas connection and talked briefly about some of the bands that made up the local and regional music scene back then. T42 (see episode #21) were one of those groups, but I mentioned Channel 69 and hinted that they would appear on CRC at some point. Well, here they are. While a different version of Exposure appeared on a full-length album, I prefer this version of the song, which is taken from their Serious Rhythm e.p., released in 1993. At the time, the band featured vocals by John Allen Moore and keyboard work by Christian Yadon and Kyle Schember. They were one of the really cool electronic bands performing in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area back in those days and I have only fond memories of my time there.
While you may know Erasure's track Senseless, which originally appeared on their debut album Wonderland, you probably have not heard this modern reworking taken from their 2009, six-song release called Club. It's much moodier than its predecessor, but it has a nice sound. Contained within, you may hear some breathy elements that resemble those heard in Depeche Mode's track Halo from the Violator album. Halo, you may recall, appeared in CRC (episode #10) back in July.
Finally, there is an excellent track called The Good Samaritan by a band called Counterfeit. This is a new discovery on my part as I found this track on a 1993 compilation I recently bought, but I fell madly in love with it from the first time I heard it. It sounds like it could fit easily somewhere on Camouflage's Voices and Images album. This is the only song that exists from the band, though its primary writer, Lee McFadden, has gone on to do other music-related projects. The track was released on Creation records, a label headed by Alan McGee, who took the name from the 60s band The Creation, and who headed an 80s band called Biff Bang Pow! Not surprisingly, Biff Bang Pow! was also the name of a song by The Creation.
That's all for this episode. The photo by the way, is of the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights, visible during the winter months in the northern latitudes. It seemed appropriate because of the extreme cold we've had lately in the Carolinas. Credit goes to Peter Lytwyniuk for the excellent shot.
Until next time, happy listening!
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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