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Summer 2011! Retro Mixtape #5
Clean
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
Explicit
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
Clean
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!    

 

Addendum:

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
Clean
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.

Ebn-Ozn's track AEIOU Sometimes Y appeared in an earlier Fun With Retro podcast from last year. The version you heard there was from a retro compilation whereas the version you'll hear in this episode is the album version. Any die-hard 80s fans will love this full-length version as it contains lyrical verses that you never hear on the radio during those retro shows. When you hear them, you'll understand why. Lead vocalist Ozn (Robert Rosen) even dares DJs to play this record, which most never did. Ebn (Ned Liben) was the instrumentalist of the group, though he died sadly in 1998 of a heart attack. Robert Rosen officially changed his name to Robert Ozn and has gone on to become an in-demand script analyst, screenwriter and producer.     

My first ever podcast from last April included Change Your Mind, a track from Gary Numan and jazz fusion instrumentalist Bill Sharpe. Of course the track here, Cars, is probably Gary's best-known song and, unfortunately, one that is overplayed to death not only on the radio, but as bumper music for nearly every damn traffic report known to mankind. Still, it's a classic and deserves an appearance. I've shied away from Gary's music more than I'd like to because, like The Clash, The Cure, The Smiths and other bands, a live drummer causes some problems with beat matching. BPMs fluctuate wildly over the course of an entire song, so as a DJ you really have to pre-plan where you're going to mix out the song. The transition to Psyche's great song Tears, as you'll probably attest, isn't perfect, but it's close. Again, little things like this are just part of the character of this podcast. I'm keeping it real as the kids say these days. (Do kids still say that?)

Axodry was one of the MANY projects by Andreas Tomalla better known as Talla 2XLC. I wish I had more info for you on this release/project, but I don't. I can tell you the song was originally mixed by The Teutons of Fun, F. Poulton and M. Buchel, before Art Maharg of Razormaid! fame got hold of it to make this version. Ha ha ... get it? "Teutons" of fun ... two tons of fun. Um, yeah. Good times.

Seven Red Seven were comprised of Mitchell Adrian and David Michael. That Way Again was taken from their first full-length album Shelter, which was released in 1991. Though they had a sound reminiscent of Cause & Effect and other electro-pop bands of the era, their songs were full of great pop hooks and catchy melodies and very much held their own. The boys did a pretty interesting cover of Stevie Wonder's Superstition and helped out with remix work/backing vocals/songwriting on the 1997 release Hope Springs Eternal by Christian-oriented synth outfit The Echoing Green.

Revenge were one of several side projects by former Joy Division and New Order bassist Peter Hook. The band was sort of a response to the announcement by Bernard Sumner (lead singer of New Order) that he was taking a hiatus after their Technique tour to pursue other things. By "other things" he meant the band Electronic with Johnny Marr from The Smiths and Neil Tennant from Pet Shop Boys. It had been widely suggested that the name Revenge was aimed at Sumner, though Hook reveals the name idea actually came from the word "Revenge" spanning the back of the leather jacket George Michael wore in the video for his song Faith. Pineapple Face was the group's most successful song and a massive club hit. After the dissolution of Revenge, Hook went on to form the group Monaco, whose song Junk appeared on an earlier episode.

Dead Or Alive have been on this podcast a couple times previously. Last time, I discussed their connection with the production super-trio of Stock Aitken Waterman. The track here, My Heart Goes Bang, was remixed by Phil Harding and he offered some reflections on the track and SAW:

"The opening is very reminiscent of the sounds on You Spin Me Round - the slap bass is Fairlight - the main bass was a keyboard that I can't remember the name of ... and the drums were mainly the famous Linn drum machine." (It should be noted here that as a kid, I would have given my left arm, gall bladder, appendix and - get this - maybe even a functional internal organ of some sort for a Fairlight CMI keyboard and a Linn drum machine.) He continues, "Most of those would have been programmed by Stock and Aitken, then the marimba sounding sequence that enters is from the band's original programming. A lot of the tracks on the Youthquake album contained this similar combination of D.O.A. and SAW ideas, which made the final result exciting and full of great ideas."

China Crisis make their first appearance on CRC with the excellent Razormaid! mix of Scream Down at Me. The band originally formed in 1979 outside Liverpool in a township called Kirkby. They were sort of new wave-y, but had distinct elements of post-punk at their core. Their two best-known tracks stateside are probably Working with Fire and Steel and King in a Catholic Style, the former a huge hit in Australia and the latter reaching #19 in the U.K. It was also their last major hit single. Fans of artists like David Bowie, Brian Eno and Steely Dan, the group would end up working with Walter Becker from Steely Dan on their third full-length album circa 1985.

As much as I love the band, this is the first appearance by The Fixx on CRC. I guess I just never found a good moment to include them in the flow of a mix until now. One of the enduring factors about The Fixx's music is the production work by Rupert Hine. His guitar work in particular is always quite haunting and it creates a very solemn feel in much of his music. Rupert has worked with many other artists including Duncan Sheik on his first couple of albums and the band Eight Seconds, whose spine-chilling track Kiss Me When It's Dangerous has appeared twice on CRC (the last being the Thanksgiving episode). I can guarantee it will appear again in the future. The Fixx began their career as Portraits, changing it to The Fix (one "x") after adding guitarist Jamie West-Oram to the Portraits line-up of Cy Curnin (vocals), Adam Woods (drums), Rupert Greenall (keyboards) and Charlie Barrett (bass). After signing to MCA, the label forced the second "x" into the name to avoid any unwarranted drug references. Interestingly, they were largely ignored in their native England and it was America where they first became bonafide stars aided by heavy video rotation during the halcyon days of MTV. One Thing Leads to Another is one of the band's biggest hits reaching #4 on the pop charts. It also remains one of the defining songs of the band and the decade of the 80s as a whole. If you have never listened to the album Reach the Beach in its entirety, put it on your musical bucket list. It is a rock masterpiece without question. In fact, the title track is one of the most beautifully assembled songs you've probably never heard before.

Finally, Blancmange make their second trip to CRC with the extended remix version of That's Love, That it Is. Formed in 1979 in England, they were signed to London Records after their track Sad Day managed to make it onto the great Some Bizarre compilation alongside Depeche Mode's Photographic, Soft Cell's The Girl with the Patent Leather Face and Moles by the group B-Movie among others. Lead singer Neil Arthur recalls the recording of That's Love ... :

"We had this groove going and needed to get the last sequence laid on top. Took forever to sync up - wouldn't cooperate. Then by fluke as the track was starting, someone hit the sequencer in manual and it was perfect. 'Hit the record button!' everyone shouted. Message understood. A random event caught on tape."

Thanks to everyone for the kind messages sent to me this past week. I'm talking real actual messages ... not those suspect ones from that poser Faye Kletter. Your praise and your kind words are what really make doing this podcast so worthwhile. Well, that and sharing oodles of great music with you all.

Until next time (which will hopefully be sooner rather than later), keep supporting the artists you hear as they are truly the ones who make this all possible. Happy listening!      
 

   

CRC Retro Mix #27
Clean
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. smiley

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
Explicit
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:


Dear Tintin,

I love your show. You play so much great stuff and your mixing is brilliant. Oh how I wish I had your talent.

 

Signed,

Faye Kletter

 

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.


P.S. In case you couldn't tell, I'm being sarcastic.

 

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
Clean
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. sad

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
Clean
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?

Signed,

Mom.

 

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
Clean
January 14, 2011 04:01 PM PST

1. The Echoing Green - Cause & Effect
2. Hanging on a Heart Attack - Device
3. Big in Japan (Remix '88) - Alphaville
4. American Science (Chemical Reaction Mix) - Duran Duran
5. Sweet Harmony - Beloved
6. Alive and Kicking - Simple Minds
7. Sinful (Tribal Mix) - Pete Wylie
8. Iko Iko - The Belle Stars
9. Shout (Dub Mix) - Tears For Fears
10. Dimension X - Seven Red Seven
11. Exposure - Channel 69
12. Romy Haag - Data
13. Senseless (Avalon Mix) - Erasure
14. The Good Samaritan - Counterfeit
15. Lady Shave - Fad Gadget

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?

Shoveling driveways for the first time in eternity and cabin fever aside, there is nothing quite like venturing out of your house the morning after a heavy snowfall.
There is no sound whatsoever: no traffic, no rustling of leaves, no birds, no planes, and no Supermen either. Planting fresh footsteps into the drifts of white powder is about the closest thing to a moon landing most of us will ever know. All of it conspired to create a strange mood, which carried over into this mix. There's a remix of American Science from Duran Duran's Strange Behavior compilation. There's Seven Red Seven's Dimension X, which contains curiously strange samples from the intro of the old 60s television show The Outer Limits. There's Data's Romy Haag, an ode to the strange, and perhaps best-known German transsexual to hit the entertainment circuit. And then there is the strange Frank Tovey, also known as Fad Gadget, contributing some of his idiosyncracy and a bit of shaving cream imagery to 1981's Lady Shave. Apologies to Steve Strange and his bandmates from Visage, who didn't quite make the cut for this particular episode.        

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!

New Year's Eve 2010! Retro Mixtape #4
Clean
December 31, 2010 02:28 PM PST

1. Unicorn - Bel Canto
2. Darker - Doves
3. Does This Hurt? - The Boo Radleys
4. She's So High - Blur
5. Formulae - JJ72
6. Shortwave - Monster Movie
7. If You Need Someone - The Field Mice
8. Beauty - Malory
9. Green Eyes - Vitesse
10. The Cat - The Essence
11. That Was Another Country - The Innocence Mission
12. Baby in Two - Pernice Brothers
13. New League of Nations - Monograph
14. Fall Down (Like the Rain) (7" Remix) - The Mighty Lemon Drops
15. House with 100 Rooms - The Chills
16. Scars - Moving Units
17. Simple - The Beta Band
18. Damian - Frost
19. San Juan - Daniel Lanois


Notes and other random things: Happy New Year's Eve! It seems like all my episodes are happy something these days. No doubt it's better than being sad, I suppose. The episode here is not the normal dance mix. It's another installment of the mixtape series I began several months back. These episodes are like the mixtapes I used to make for friends way back when people actually still used tapes. They're a nice change of pace from the mixing board and it gives me an opportunity to share other great 80s and 90s music, and maybe some newer or older tunes, that don't fit the dance format.

This particular selection is an actual mix compilation I put together on New Year's Eve 2004. I don't recall my frame of mind or mitigating circumstances surrounding this mix or really why I chose these particular songs other than they're all very good. Much of this stuff is guitar-based, but there are some electronic elements in here too.

Bel Canto's Unicorn is from their album called Shimmering, Warm and Bright. A high school buddy of mine bought the album for this song, but didn't care for the rest of it, so he gave it to me. I quickly developed an affinity for them and bought their other albums. This still stands as my favorite of their work, though Anneli Drecker and Nils Johansen wrote some other very melodic and introspective songs along the way.

In subsequent albums, after Everything's Alright Forever from which Does it Hurt? comes, The Boo Radleys moved away from the shoegaze sound that characterized their early work. It's a lot of fuzz and feedback, but tucked away in the white noise are some great melodies. Malory, on the other hand, sort of channeled and regurgitated one of my favorite shoegaze bands, Slowdive, on their Not Here, Not Now album. Even more interesting, and perhaps not coincidental, is that their record label is called Alison records. Alison is the title of the first song on Slowdive's Souvlaki album.

Speaking of Slowdive, Monster Movie is a side project of Christian Savill, who was the guitarist for the band.

The Doves and Blur represent some of the finer Britpop stuff to come out of the last decade. She's So High is the first track on Blur's debut album called Leisure. For those a bit young, this is the band in which Damon Albarn, whom you may recognize from Gorillaz, cut his teeth. Darker is the first bonus track on the Doves U.S. debut called Lost Souls from 2000. Doves were originally a dance outfit called Sub Sub in the early to mid-90s, and were signed to Rob Gretton's Rob Records label. Gretton was the manager of Joy Division and New Order and a prominent figure in the post-punk scene that blossomed in Manchester at the end of the 70s and on into the early 80s.

Vitesse are a Chicago-based band comprised of Hewson Chen and Josh Klein. While their vocals are very reminiscent of bands like the Magnetic Fields, their electronic experiments were much more in the early new wave vein conjuring up visions of OMD (whom they also cover on their previous album) and the like. On the song Green Eyes, a Husker Du cover track, Celeste Alexander does the lead vocal honors.

If you didn't know better, you'd swear The Cat is a long lost Cure track, but The Essence is the project of one Hans Diener. His vocal resemblance to Robert Smith is uncanny and not just on this track. While we're discussing vocal doppelgangers, at first listen one could easily mistake Innocence Misson lead singer Karen Peris' pixie-like emanations for those of The Sundays' lovely chanteuse Harriet Wheeler. That's definitely not a bad thing.

The Mighty Lemon Drops hail from the U.K. and were one of the darlings of Sire Records in the mid-80s and early 90s. They had a jangly pop guitar sound with a 60s sort of style about them, even covering Roky Erickson's 60s psychedelic outfit 13th Floor Elevators and their track Splash #One.

The Chills were led by Martin Phillips. Originating from New Zealand, they went through an absurd number of line-up changes during their heyday in the 80s and early 90s. Their earliest and perhaps most infamous success came with 1984's release of the song Pink Frost, a beautiful, yet haunting tune about a lover's death, though it is revealed in liner notes from the Heavenly Pop Hit album that the story is rooted in a dream and not reality as is often thought. The song here is the album version of House with 100 Rooms, though it does have a remix that was spliced together by Danny Hyde, who has done extensive remixing for industrial acts like Coil, Psychic TV, Pop Will Eat Itself and Nine Inch Nails.

Finally, there is Daniel Lanois, producer extraordinaire who has worked with Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Brian Eno and of course U2 on their Unforgettable Fire, Joshua Tree, Achtung Baby and All That You Can't Leave Behind albums. This lovely, bittersweet track is from one of his solo albums called Shine.

I'm kicking around some ideas on how to add a new wrinkle or two to my podast this coming year because I'm hoping to make CRC better than ever. Thanks to all my listeners as you are the reason I will continue do this. I've always believed that great music is best when it can be shared by many. I used to do that by mixtape, but podcasting reaches so many more people in such a shorter amount of time. I've definitely got some more great music to broadcast to everyone in the new year, so I hope you'll continue to support my efforts. And it goes without saying that if you like any of the artists you hear, please be sure to support them too!

If you go out tonight, please don't drink and drive. Have fun and be safe and here's wishing everyone a healthy and very happy 2011.

 

 

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