80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ Sideway Look

sideway_lookEd-FM played Sideway Look’s “Unlock The Capital” a few weeks ago. Shortly after, a musical friend sent me one of their songs and urged me to investigate their music more fully. I did, and found a very competent, talented band who I never knew existed. I have a feeling there are a lot of other people out there that have never heard of them, either. Now you have.

I have read a couple of reviews that compare this band to Big Country (another “criminally underrated” band for another day), but I hear only a slight resemblance. The only real connection between the two bands is that they both originated from Scotland. After that, their signature sounds are very distinct. As long as we are splitting hairs, there are actually more influences I hear from the likes of Armoury Show, Big Dish, and Simple Minds.

The band was made up of Colin Thom (guitar, harmonica, keyboards, vocals), Brian Smith (vocals. guitar, keyboards), John Baird (bass, accordion), Johnny O’Neill (keyboards), and Iain Hardie (drums, percussion). The band manages to employ many instruments to keep their sound varied and interesting. Accordion – need I say more? The vocals are beautiful, harmonious, and expressive.

Once again, the Internet is a vast wasteland when trying to put together a comprehensive history of Sideway Look. I guess it’s safe to assume they formed in Scotland shortly before their eponymous release in 1984, and broke up after releasing Taming The Blade in 1988. If anyone has any other historical tidbits to offer, please feel free to leave a comment.

 

Knowing You From Today” (audio only) via YouTube user JAMR1977:

Taming the Blade” via YouTube user ELMELO80:

Hungry Waters” (feat. Karen Rix – audio only) via YouTube user JAMR1977:

Is This Tomorrow” (audio only) via YouTube user tadeuz30:

 

As with many of the Criminally Underrated artists/ bands, Sideway Look’s music appears to be out of print. To purchase Sideway Look music, you can start your search here.  Also, try here.

Discography

sw1Sideway Look (1984)

 

 

 

 

sw2Taming The Blade (1988)

 

80’s Music Rules ~ More from Retrospect CFRC-FM ~ 08-25-09

cfrc-fm1

What an incredible show. Ed-FM promised uber-obscure because it was a SOCAN night. He would have to do extra paperwork, so why not return the favor to the folks at the other end of the red tape? Although some of the artists were familiar, the tracks were not. Ed put together a searing hot set and even included something by my personal faves, the Abecedarians. My hat is off to the master of rare.

Be sure to tune in to Ed and his “how do you spell ‘obscure’” 80’s Retrospect show on CFRC-FM from 8 pm until 10 pm on Tuesday nights. Ed takes requests by phone: (613) 533-CFRC (2372) or email: retrospectcfrc at yahoo dot ca. Indulge yourself in some “80’s Music that doesn’t suck.” I guarantee die-hard 80’s New Wave/post-punk fans will not be disappointed.

CFRC-FM Playlist August 25, 2009

Basement of Carruthers Hall in Queens University, Kingston, Ontario
ED-FM ~ Retrospect
80’s Music That Doesn’t Suck
If the “Listen Live” link on the CFRC Website doesn’t work, copy and paste this URL into your Windows Media Player: http://sunsite.queensu.ca:8000/
Join us in the Chat Room during the show – either click the link on the right menu under the Rave and Roll graphic, or here.
To listen to any shows that you may have missed, go to the CFRC website and look up the archives under the “Programming” drop-down menu. You can enjoy Ed’s previous shows in one-hour increments.

  1. The Box – Live On TV
  2. B.B. Gabor – Soviet Jewellry (Nyet Nyet Soviet)
  3. Maurice and the Clichés – Soft Core
  4. Voice – Lime
  5. Arkitex – Lincoln Walk
  6. Toby Swann – Somewhere Over The Rainbow
  7. Nash The Slash – Who Do You Dub
  8. Eva Everything – No Pleasure (Dance mix)
  9. Dalek I Love You – Heaven Was Bought For Me
  10. Siouxsie And The Banshees – I Promise (12” single)
  11. English Beat – March Of The Swivelheads
  12. Fred Schneider And The Shake Society – Monster
  13. The Extras – Circular Impression
  14. When In Rome – Wide Wide Sea
  15. The Spoons – No Electrons
  16. Johnny And The Self-Abusers – Dead Vandals
  17. Big In Japan – Cindy And The Barbie Dolls
  18. Blue Peter – Video Verite 
  19. Durutti Column – The Missing Boy
  20. Drivin’ and Cryin’ – Another Scarlet Butterfly
  21. Laurie And The Chameleons – Lonely Spy
  22. Boys Brigade – Saigon
  23. Abecedarians – Soil
  24. Yellow Magic Orchestra – Technopolis
  25. Moev – Cracked Mirror

80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ Darkroom (Canada)

Darkroom1This is just a really brief, down-and-dirty entry about a group that broke onto the 80’s music scene with so much potential, but was essentially flash-in-the-pan short-lived. There isn’t a whole lot of information out there on them, but I’ve pulled together the essence of what I was able to unearth.

The band formed in Edmonton, Alberta Canada in the early 80’s and was made up of Jim Gray (vocals), Jeff Schmidt (bass), Tim Palmar (drums), Alan Marks (guitar), and Wolf Radke (guitar, keyboards). Before the band eventually broke up in 1989, they released two full-length LPs, San Paku and A Test of Time. Jim Gray also played a vampire in the mid-80’s TV series “The Little Vampire,” launching an acting career that would see him into the 90’s in front of the camera, then behind the scenes as a Hollywood set designer.

As far as I can tell, Darkroom albums are out of print. The only way to obtain these collections is to buy used vinyl and cassettes from private sellers. If you can get your hands on any of their music, go for it. In my humble opinion, “San Paku” is a really outstanding, dark, goth-like post-punk tune that will find its way inside your head and take a long time to leave.

 “San Paku” (audio only) via YouTube user Kaiserkraut2:

In Dim Light” (audio only) via YouTube user hippyandchicky:

Broken English” (audio only) via YouTube user hippyandchicky:

Here is one resource for purchasing Darkroom music.

Discography

Darkroom_aSan Paku (1983)

 

 

Darkroom_bA Test of Time (1985)

 

80’s Music Rules ~ More from Retrospect CFRC-FM ~ 08-18-09

cfrc-fm

Ed’s show was as hot as an August afternoon in Florida once again this week. Not only did he fulfill Sistahmar’s wish to hear “Sex Gorilla,” he treated us all to a radio world premier of an 80’s tune – Victims Of Pleasure’s “Feel Like A Dancer.” If you missed it, then you missed out on a once-in-a-lifetime event. Join us on Tuesday nights to get your weekly fix of musica obscura, and occasionally maybe even a 1980’s world premier or two.

Be sure to tune in to Ed and his “I dare you to tune in and listen” 80’s Retrospect show on CFRC-FM from 8 pm until 10 pm on Tuesday nights. Ed takes requests by phone: (613) 533-CFRC (2372) or email: retrospectcfrc at yahoo dot ca. Indulge yourself in some “80’s Music that doesn’t suck.” I guarantee die-hard 80’s New Wave/post-punk fans will not be disappointed.

CFRC-FM Playlist August 18, 2009

Basement of Carruthers Hall in Queens University, Kingston, Ontario
ED-FM ~ Retrospect
80’s Music That Doesn’t Suck
If the “Listen Live” link on the CFRC Website doesn’t work, copy and paste this URL into your Windows Media Player: http://sunsite.queensu.ca:8000/
Join us in the Chat Room during the show – either click the link on the right menu under the Rave and Roll graphic, or here.
To listen to any shows that you may have missed, go to the CFRC website and look up the archives under the “Programming” drop-down menu. You can enjoy Ed’s previous shows in one-hour increments.

  1. The Brigade – I Scream
  2. BB Gabor – Moscow Drug Club
  3. Mittegeisen – Automaten
  4. Section 25 – Looking From A Hilltop
  5. Dalek I Love You – Africa Express
  6. Victims Of Pleasure – Feel Like A Dancer (world premier)
  7. Vis-à-Vis – Shadowplay
  8. League Of Nations – Fade
  9. Spoons – Smiling In Winter
  10. National Velvet – Sex Gorilla
  11. Breeding Ground – Reunion
  12. The Trees – 11 AM
  13. Danielle Dax – Big Blue ‘82
  14. The The – Gravitate To Me
  15. Propaganda – Laughed
  16. Rational Youth – Holiday In Bangkok
  17. The Factory – Hold Out
  18. A-Ha – Cry Wolf (extended mix)
  19. Darkroom – San Paku (extended)

80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ Vis-A-Vis

vis-a-vis2Not all of the music from the 80’s was great. For example, I have a personal revulsion for all things Madonna, Cher, and heavy (big hair) metal (with the exception of Cult). Sorry if this offends, but that’s just the way it is.

 Within the realm of all that was extraordinary about 80’s New Wave and Post-punk music, are diamonds in the rough; gems that hovered beneath exteriors that were cast aside or overlooked in favor of the flavor of the moment. Particularly in the US, corporate suits met in stuffy, smoke-filled boardrooms and decided what we would listen to, when we would listen to it, and how it would be broadcast. Lucky for us that we had the nanny-suits watching out for our own oh-so-precious musical well-being – not. Who knows, we might have actually all grown up to be serial killers, or worse: individuals with top-notch and unique musical tastes.

 And so, the legions of the clueless grew up, had families, and eventually discovered all of the riches that were hidden from the airwaves via a wonderful vehicle called the Internet. That’s the whole raison d’etre for this blog; it’s my way of sharing some of the best New Wave and Post-punk music that was deliberately swept under the rug, ignored, or just plain euthanized, all because some corporate bean-counters thought that was best for our tender ears and impressionable sensibilities.

Today’s entry features a fabulous band from Toronto called Vis-A-Vis. Most of the information is taken from the band’s MySpace page because precious little else is available on the Internet. From the Vis-A-Vis MySpace page:vis-a-vis1

 The core line up included Rude van Steenes, Vocals/Lyrics, Synth’s, Percussion; Kurt LaPorte, Guitars, Backing Vocals; Gene Donofrio, Bass Guitars; Norm Brown, Keyboards, Synth’s; Frank March, Drums; and the late Jeff ‘Jet’ Persad, Coordinator. 

Vis-A-Vis is another prime example of a band of gifted musicians that had everything going for it, but ran up against impenetrable obstacles that caused its unfortunate, premature demise. They did, however, release three very vital singles: “Heart and Soul” and “I Am the Night (Colour Me Black)” from the Heart and Soul LP released in 1986, and “Shadowplay” from the Shadowplay LP released in 1987.

Rather than for me to paraphrase their history, it’s best to just visit the Vis-A-Vis MySpace page that Rude van Steenes has lovingly populated, listen to their music, and bask in the elements that made 80’s New Wave and Post-punk music so lush, unique, and vital. Meanwhile, watch this space for more criminally underrated 80’s artists and bands, kept alive in our hearts and minds, and brought to you via such renegade DJs as David Marsden and Ed-FM.

Shadowplay” (audio only) via YouTube user tadeuz30:

I Am The Night (Colour Me Black)” (audio only) via YouTube user JAMR1977:

 Discography

As far as I know, Vis-A-Vis music is no longer available for purchase. Please correct me if I am wrong. More reason to check it out over at the Vis-A-Vis MySpace page.

Heart and Soul (1986)
Shadowplay (1987)

80’s Music Rules ~ More from Retrospect CFRC-FM ~ 08-11-09

cfrc-fm1

Ed-FM had a tough time this week with Mother Nature – who seemed to be in a rage up in Kingston ON. Reporting a hellacious thunderstorm including close lightning strikes, Ed braved the elements and impending doom to bring us another first-class lesson in musica obscura. It’s a good thing, too; where else would you hear outstanding songs like Mittegeisen’s “Bestandigkeit Der Errinerung,” Mannshreck’s “Snap Jack Feiber,” or even Hot House Flowers’ “I’m Sorry?”  We are definitely grateful that Ed prevailed in the war with Mother Nature.

Be sure to tune in to Ed and his “hotter than a lightning strike” 80’s Retrospect show on CFRC-FM from 8 pm until 10 pm on Tuesday nights. Ed takes requests by phone: (613) 533-CFRC (2372) or email: retrospectcfrc at yahoo dot ca. Indulge yourself in some “80’s Music that doesn’t suck.” I guarantee die-hard 80’s New Wave/post-punk fans will not be disappointed.

CFRC-FM Playlist August 11, 2009

Basement of Carruthers Hall in Queens University, Kingston, Ontario
ED-FM ~ Retrospect
80’s Music That Doesn’t Suck
If the “Listen Live” link on the CFRC Website doesn’t work, copy and paste this URL into your Windows Media Player: http://sunsite.queensu.ca:8000/
Join us in the Chat Room during the show – either click the link on the right menu under the Rave and Roll graphic, or here.
To listen to any shows that you may have missed, go to the CFRC website and look up the archives under the “Programming” drop-down menu. You can enjoy Ed’s previous shows in one-hour increments.

  1. Simple Minds – Chelsea Girl
  2. Blue Peter – Where’s My Angel
  3. Mittegeisen – Bestandigkeit Der Errinerung
  4. Two Men Laughing – Cry Now
  5. Happy Mondays – Kuff Dam
  6. Yeah Yeah Noh – Superimposed Man
  7. Yello – Sometimes (Dr. Hirsch)
  8. Karel Fialka – Hey Matthew
  9. Victims Of Pleasure – Slave To Fashion
  10. Dole – Slumberland (12” single)
  11. Tree Bound Story – I Remember
  12. Men Without Hats – Security (10” single)
  13. Chris and Cosey – Hazy Days
  14. Mannshreck – Snap Jack Feiber
  15. Glove – Like An Animal (12”)
  16. Clan Of Xymox – Stranger
  17. Spoons – South American Vacation
  18. FM – Phasers On Stun
  19. Gary Numan – White Boys And Heroes (12” mix)
  20. Hothouse Flowers – I’m Sorry
  21. Rational Youth – Cite Phosphore (Razormaid Mix)
  22. Torch Song – Don’t Look Now

80’s Music Rules ~ Angelic 80’s Voices

Favorite music, favorite singers, favorite anything, really, is purely subjective. We all have different tastes and criteria that float each of our individual boats. So, I don’t expect people to agree with my selections for this entry, and readily admit up front that this is completely based on my own personal preferences.

That said, there were some outstanding male voices that emerged throughout my favorite music decade.

Iva Davies – Frontman for the iconic Australian band Icehouse, Iva Davies has a voice that easily spans several scales. Recently, I came across a cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes” that Davies nailed as well, if not better, than the Thin White Duke himself. Operatic, earnest, and flooded with emotion that envelops listeners and transports them to a place far within themselves, Davies’ voice is easily recognizable and welcomed when an escape from the cruel, cold world is prescribed. Enjoy the following performance given a full 30 years after breaking onto the music scene.

 Heroes” via YouTube user Maiblume4:

 Morten Harket – Nothing I can possibly say will do justice to Morten Harket’s voice. The amazing thing about this man is that his singing has gotten even better over the years. Best known for his work with A-Ha and the heavily rotated song “Take On Me,” Harket has continued to knock audiences out with his stunning vocals. A few months ago I featured Harket and A-Ha as “Criminally Underrated” because of the widespread assumption that they were “one-hit wonders.” Not true. Both Harket solo and along with a re-formed A-Ha continue to record and perform before sell-out audiences all over the world. The following is just one example of what he is capable of two decades after his world debut.

 “Darkspace” via YouTube user callimitty:

Bryan Ferry – Widely noted for his work with Roxy Music, Ferry’s career began in 1970, but blossomed in the 80’s with his newly re-formed version of the band. Ferry’s voice may not have the range of Harket’s or Davies’, but it is unmistakably gorgeous and sexy. “More Than This” is one of the most beautiful, long-lived love songs from the 80’s. More than 25 years after first hearing this song, I still swoon with overwhelming emotion when I play it. Bryan Ferry gave a world-class performance at the historic Apollo in 2001 and continues to thrill audiences worldwide. I can’t, and don’t even want to imagine my music collection minus Ferry’s seductive crooning. I know this: “Flesh and Blood” and “Avalon” (among other Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music LPs) were intimate friends that saw me through difficult times in the 80’s. Live from the Apollo and still incredibly sexy:

“My Only Love” via YouTube user azija44:

David Sylvian – I have heard that David Sylvian is not fond of his voice during his early Japan days. It’s true that he managed to mask a sultry, sexy, and hypnotic voice under a layer of post-punk glib for several years. When the “real” Sylvian finally emerged, it was as though he were taken over and possessed by aliens, the transformation was that dramatic. Post-Japan, Sylvian’s voice is mellow, hypnotic, and fabulously expressive. He continues to evolve, lyrically and musically with a voice that, like Morten Harket’s and fine wine, grows ever better with age. Whenever I need to curl up with a voice that transports me beyond the daily stresses and annoyances, Sylvian’s, via the LPs “Gone to Earth” or “Secrets of the Beehive” is one of the first to come to mind. Meanwhile, this is a fabulous example of David Sylvian live:

 When Poets Dreamed Of Angels” via YouTube user samadhisound:

Freddie Mercury – Somehow I feel that anything I write about Mercury’s voice has either a) already been written, or b) is woefully inadequate. The best I can do is to describe Mercury’s voice as a finely-tuned instrument, and that he was its master musician. The depth and range of Mercury’s voice knew no bounds. The members of his band Queen could only accompany him, rather than augment what was a superior and vital part of their sound. His untimely death in 1991 was the music industry’s and the world’s devastating loss. I firmly believe that he would have continued to evolve, always remaining elevated above the mere mortals of the music world. Freddie Mercury holding his own beautifully with opera singer Montserrat Cabelle in what would be his last performance:

 “Barcelona” via YouTube user buckey888: