I usually refer to them as “Kate and Cindy” from 52-Girls my favorite song from The B-52’s. This time I went in the order of the photo from their latest concert at Irving Plaza at Gramercy Park. There was no stopping the Silver Fox as I slithered through the crowd and ended up about 4 rows from the stage. All I did that night was sing at the top of my lungs with my new friend standing next to me. She knew every word as we screamed “Don’t get off the Patio” into each others ears. We danced up a storm . It was a non stop cabaret of FUN! As we went “down down down” to the floor during Rock Lobster, I flashback to J.D’s basement in 1982.
The Day the World Turned Day Glo was 1978 when Poly Styrene the punk singer of this band released this album. I purchased this in the early 80’s and loved her cockney accent and brashness. It was new for punk to be led by a female singer. She also had a sweetness to her voice and personality. She recently passed away at 53 and I wanted to pay tribute to her in my blog. This classic album is a must for any music collector. It is on every critic’s list as a pioneer album in a era that won’t be forgotten. She played CBGB in 1978 and made “Oh Bondage!” an anthem. She also influenced so many female singers that followed her. She loved the designer Vivienne Westwood where she developed her own personal style. As she sang “Warrior in Woolworth’s,” she will be remembered as a the original Commander!
NOW: JUSTIN VIVIAN BOND – DENDROPHILE (2011)
Take me back to the 70’s, JVB. Your new album (not cd) is amazing. We like old school terms like albums and your new song “The Golden Age of Hustlers.” Your covers of Joni Mitchell, Karen Carpenter, and Joan Baez are all so interesting and warm. I loved your performance at Bowery Ballroom for your launch of these new songs. It is so refreshing to hear this album of quiet and comforting songs in the age of Gaga and Britney. It is a nice vibe and performance. I have been recommending this to everyone. See you at Joe’s Pub, baby!
THEN: DAVID BOWIE – ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS (1972)
“People stared at the makeup on his face.” This line, from the song – Lady Stardust. This is the first track and first line from side two of this classic Bowie album. I played this over and over and over. All night long… Without this music, I do not know who I would be today. It shaped me into the man I am. This album I found in my older sister’s room and instantly moved it into my room, and onto my record player. David Bowie became my idol and the posters of his face were splattered on every wall. I followed his career and waited for the day that he released his new material. I grew up with all of his “changes.” I even had a Bowie pen pal! (pre- Internet) Thank you Ziggy for making it all OK!
NOW: CUT/COPY- ZONOSCOPE (2011)
Get ready to feel good. Cut/Copy’s new album is again one of the best of 2011. Every track from start to finish is upbeat. Rhythm and Rhyme bounce throughout the record with electronic sounds and crisp production. Multi-layered dance tracks make you feel in an eighties mood. A lot of music these days seems to channel that era but still bring a new approach to the feel good music of the dynasty era. Tingle and get a bit tribal with these new beats.
THEN: TALKING HEADS – FEAR OF MUSIC (1979)
Who remembers this record? The stark cover was debossed to show texture of manhole covers of New York City. This was produced by Brian ENO giving Talking Heads a new electronic sound that moves right into the new feeling of music that defines the eighties. Electronics mixed with tribal beats is the new fresh sound that is now redefined by Cut/Copy. This record for me in 1979 was the start of “new wave” and a whole new genre of greatness in the eighties. Remember Black is Where it is At in New York City in 1980!
One of my music idols for over twenty years has been PJ HARVEY. She has has over 8 cds and many side projects as well. The rock critics are gushing and every album has a different feeling with a different type of edge. She sings in many octaves and can belt out some loud noise, and also the softest whisper you have ever heard. She plays guitar and has a reptilian personality. Her performances are amazing — I went to Terminal 5 recently to see her, once again. Her music is quality and also for the explorer. Here is a quick summary of some of Polly Jean’s library:
2011 – Let England Shake – this belongs to the soldiers and the land-quirky
2007 – White Chalk – bare bones piano
2004 – Uh Huh Her – back to raw and hard
2000 – Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea – Straight forward rock
1998 – Is This Desire – Hard and Soft – classic PJ
1995 – To Bring You My Love – epic!!!
1992 – Dry – Stripped down and raw where it all began
NOW: HURTS – HAPPINESS NOW (2010)
Who doesn’t want a “Wonderful Life”? This import cd is so gothically romantic. The very 80’s production value and strong voice make you feel like you are floating to a castle somewhere in a “illuminated” palace. The two boys even add Kylie on vocals on “Devotion”. This music is as grand as you get. The pop element and catchy tunes bring you back to the days of youth. It is time for large scale production and escapism. It won’t Hurt to try this music… you will feel Happiness.
THEN: PAUL YOUNG – BETWEEN TWO FIRES (1986)
OMG, Remember that name? It was very hard to compare Hurts to another singer from the past. I opened up my vault and quickly my eye ran to Paul Young. All I remember about him is his distinct beautiful grand voice and the over the top 80’s production. This was it! This works for the now and then. I always love a good homage!!
NOW: DESTROYER – KAPUTT (2011)
Now don’t get scared by the name of this group. It is not a heavy metal hair band from the 80’s. It is a new beautiful piece of music that is going to be on my top list of best music of the year. The sound is soothing 70’s with a crisp production. Mellow and relaxing yet flowing too with some great electronics in the mix. Think Steely Dan, Al Stewart, and other storytellers of that era. This a new sound landscape to discover.
THEN: STEELY DAN – AJA (1977)
This album was one of the great masterpieces of the era. Each song was longer than we were used to, and flowed like a carpet ride along the sky. The instruments were so jazzy and smooth. Go and rediscover this classic piece of art. The cover was so shiny and slick. I remember the original album cover having a heavy gloss on it to match the sound of the music. This was the first time this was achieved in album cover art. Turn it up and turn down the lights to float into the land of AJA.
NOW: THE DECEMBERISTS – THE KING IS DEAD (2011)
“Don’t Carry it all,” “Let the yoke fall from our Shoulders,” “Raise a glass to turnings of the season” — The seasons are the topics for The Decemberists. They start off this year with one of the best albums of the year. Going through every season with mandolins, violin, acoustic guitar, harmonica, and tambourine. The sound is earthy, comforting and very melodic. The use of words travel through the mountains to higher places.
THEN: NEIL YOUNG – COMES A TIME (1978)
This was one of my favorite Neil Young albums. It also has a very comforting and soothing experience. I thought this was the perfect complement to the above now. This music is timeless and classic and makes you want to put on a pair of boots and denim and climb mountains up a new horizon. “Lotta Love” is a amazing song that will stick with you forever. This is what we all want.
I am in love with this Queen. Her new record is called The Party Ain’t Over. My party has just started after hearing this music. As you know I listen to all types of music, but this puts me in a tail spin. I smile and rock n roll and I shake, Jack White, formerly of The White Stripes, is the main guitar player and producer. He brought Wanda back and got her party up and roaring. Her cover of Bob Dylan’s “Thunder on the mountain” is brilliant. This is the Queen of Cool.