Saturday, 29 August 2009

What got me into... Depeche Mode

Get the Balance Right (UK Number 13 Feb 1983)

Get the Balance Right

I always get into bands via a side door. A bit skew whiff, so to speak. They may have enough songs to fill the Albert Hall, but I pick up on the underdog track. And it's always a single that touches something (don't ask me what) which then sends me into a fact-finding, catalogue-buying frenzy. Get the Balance Right is the perfect example: an album bridger, unloved by band and fans alike but still my one of my all-time favourites by Depeche Mode. Between the Martin Gore album A Broken Frame and the album that defined their sound, Construction Time Again, the band had to come up with a single lest anyone forgot who they were.

The aptly named Get the Balance Right is as light as its predecessors but as heavy as its successors with the political overtones. The video's very stilted, of course, but the synth pop is still as crisp and the dubby groove still ahead of its time. The band themselves aren't particularly fond of the song because of the pressure of producing it to order. The follow-up was the mammoth hit Everything Counts which introduced Construction Time Again and in turn dwarfed GTBR. After that, Dave Gahan started tinting his hair - still didn't shave until 1993 though - Martin Gore got kinky, Andy Fletcher began sounding more and more like Sid James and Alan Wilder just got livid. The single made me re-visit and fall in love with their debut album, Speak and Spell, go see them live for my first ever gig with Construction Time Again and love Some Great Reward most of all. Go here for a neat upsum of their big singles...

Friday, 28 August 2009

Bananarama: the readers wifes

Watching the glorious 'Rams new video for Love Comes, with their very distinct brunette versus blonde and heavily kohled eyes, I was reminded of The Readers Wifes brilliant 2005 video, Scumpop... Spot, as they say, the difference.

First, da girls...

Now, da wifes...

BTW, sozz for being AWOL. Normal service will resume just as soon as I find where I left it.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Acceptable in the 90s

Loved by the kids and oddly ignored by the arbiters of good taste, (except, of course, this man) Calvin Harris is on a roll with another great track destined for numero uno. Well, it would be if roasted peanut, Peter Andre wasn't bleating on about his failed marriage to tits-on-a-stick Jordan to squeeze a few more sales. Tinchy Stryder aside (but 7 out of 10 for effort), Calvin is quite close to nabbing the top spot, according to the midweeks. Now, XO's observation that Ready For the Weekend is another example of the 90s revival - the wailing diva, the piano and rave beats - is not to be taken lightly. I think it's genuinely happening. And it's no bad thing!

Apparently, 2 Unlimited (which IS a bad thing) are already starting the ball rolling for a nostalgia fest in Belgium. But if there's a 90s revival happening, what's going to happen to all those bands touring the 80s revival circuit? Will they go the way of the 70s and 60s acts who end up in smaller and smaller venues until no one turns up? Who cares. Turn up the strobe!

Friday, 7 August 2009

Cicada, reheated and re-done

Here's a jolly version of Cicada's Psycho Thrills, out as a single 14th September. It's totally different to the album track but still has the Cicada touch. But where's Heidrun and the boys in the video? Are they really too old-looking? Get them back for the next one! Duncan Mills, on drums, is the most entertaining performance in itself...

The band are also doing two live dates: 30th September at Ruby Lounge, Manchester and 1st October at 93 Feet East, London. Both of which I won't be able to go to. Boo!

Sunday, 2 August 2009

"Well, Chris isn't Andrew Ridgeley either..."

That was Neil Tennant's incredulous reaction to the question put to him by Chris Cowie, "You aren't going to do a Wham eventually, are you?", meaning, Chris does nothing but stand behind a keyboard, you sing, so are you going to go solo like George Michael? It was on a music show called TX45, a Tyne Tees TV production which was regional-only. Imagine that. A music programme JUST for the north east of England. That's what fragmented niche TV meant in the 80s.

Incidentally, TX45 moved into the same studio left behind by Channel 4's The Tube.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Three buffalo gals!

If you've ever wondered where the definitive Bananarama interview for this French and Saunders ("I'm a bit toppy and I'm a bit bottomy") parody comes from...

...then watch this classic early 80s interview from Channel 4's The Tube with the BRILLIANT Paula Yates: as The Ram's Karen says, "We either write together or we get someone in to help us if we can't find the bridge for the middle of the song or something".

The Tube - Bananrama Interview on MUZU.

Apparently, ITN own all of Tyne Tees' (a TV company from Newcastle) music output and MUZU TV has all the archive footage of The Tube's interviews. Clicky here!!!

And here's the video for Cheers Then, their third single from their debut album Deep Sea Skiving. Siobhan Fahey said of its moderate success: "We started taking our careers seriously after Cheers Then bombed. Before then we thought all groups just brought out records and had them go to the top of the charts. It bought us down to reality a bit."