As you know I love most anything 80s. Apparently people from my age bracket are clearly working at advertising agencies these days. I used to love Radio Shack. My first computer was a TRS-80 CoCo. Radio Shack was a destination for me. I miss the isles of small parts and such. Sadly, today’s RS is basically a cell phone store. As a frequent flyer on Delta I noticed the past few safety videos have been pretty funny. The latest one is the best of course. Finally we end this blog post with a look at what Instagram would have looked like 30 years ago.
“The 80s called … they want their store back. 80s celebrities invade a RadioShack to take back their old stuff and make room for the RadioShack of the future.” – Radio Shack
Another video example of a world I once lived in. What has been exploited and homogenized by Hot Topic’s in Malls across America once was underground and newsworthy. I think I need to raid my mothers closet again soon!
“Go inside this secret place tonight where black is in and the music is industrial strength and it’s always Halloween. On this Friday night we are going to take you to a nightclub you probably never knew existed. It’s a place where they dress in black and dance to Industrial Disco.” – Channel 9, Orlando
This week is Thanksgiving in the United States. Usually this means some extra TV or movie time. I have a music documentary recommendation for everyone. Last year a documentary called Anvil! The Story of Anvil was released. It tells the story of a band who didn’t make it. I think every musician on the planet will relate and laugh to at least some parts of this film. It has a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Highly recommended.
“At fourteen years old, best friends Lips and Robb Reiner made a pact to rock together forever. Their band Anvil, hailed as the demi-gods of Canadian metal, influenced a musical generation including Met allica, Slayer and Anthrax. Though Anvil never made it, they never stopped playing or believing. Following a calamitous European tour, Lips and Robb, now well into their fifties, set off to record their thirteenth album, This is Thirteen, in one last attempt to fulfill their boyhood dream.”
Depeche Mode’s Some Great Reward album from 1984 is one of my favorites. I can sing every lyric on the album in order from beginning to end. It has a romantic feel with plenty of melodies, early sampling and fantastic 80s drums. I don’t know the story behind these demo versions of the album tracks but from a musician’s stand point they are very interesting. The highly produced gloss is gone revealing many of the songs parts which on the CD meld together (in a good way).
“In September 1984, Some Great Reward was released. Melody Maker claimed that the album made one “sit up and take notice of what is happening here, right under your nose.” In contrast to the political and environmental subjects addressed on the previous album, the songs on Some Great Reward were mostly concerned with more personal themes such as sexual politics (“Master and Servant”), adulterous relationships (“Lie to Me”), and arbitrary divine justice (“Blasphemous Rumours”). Also included was the first Martin Gore ballad (“Somebody”) – such songs would become a feature of all following albums. “Somebody” was released as a double a-side with “Blasphemous Rumours” and was the first single with Gore on lead vocals. Some Great Reward was the first Depeche Mode album to enter the US album charts, and it made the Top 10 in several European countries.” – Wikipedia.org
We are having a major heat wave in New York right now. It’s been over 95F and humid for two days and the weather report says nothing is going to change for at least a week. Considering it’s only Tuesday we are in for some long hotness. The one song that really triggers my mind into summer mode is Cruel Summer by Bananarama. Something about the melody and singing just feels like summer.
“Hot summer streets and the pavements are burning I sit around. Trying to smile but the air is so heavy and dry. Strange voices are sayin’. What did they say. Things I can’t understand. It’s too close for comfort this heat has got right out of hand.” – Bananarama
I have this record on pink marbled 12″ vinyl. I remember my friend Joe Forbes bought it first and it took me a while to find my own copy. Eventually I found it at Rebel Rebel on Bleeker Street. Amazingly Rebel Rebel still exists and the owner still stands in behind the front counter exactly as he did 20+ years ago. Recently I went in there with my brother and saw him only now with gray hair. We spent countless weekends, hours and money buying hundreds of records from Rebel Rebel. Secession had a few good songs. I love the melancholy melodies in Touch. Melodies like this were in so much of 80s New Wave and for me the memories are melancholy too. Forget Virgin Galatic I want a proper time machine.
“Rebel Rebel is one of the old school NYC record shops— they’ve seemingly been around since the dawn of time. The walls are lined with posters and records from bands that haven’t seen a recording studio in years. Vinyl is everywhere, promo posters are sold out of a box for $2 a piece. It’s one of those places where a record buyer just feels at home.” – nycgoth.com
Nothing beats the sound of the 80s. Period. At least that’s my own view. The amazing and expensive Fairlight CMI was the sampler that defined much of the 80s sound. Bands like Art of Noise used the Fairlight extensively. I once owned a Roland S-50 sampler and it had a small copy of the Fairlight’s amazing sound set. I miss those sounds so I’m happy to report that PowerFX has released a Refill for Propellerheads Reason called Fairlight CMI Legacy.
“This library collects an awesome amount of ultra clean recordings of the original sounds from the Fairlight CMI II, the world’s first real sampling based workstation as premiered some time before 1980. And this entire Reason 4 library costs much less than 64 kilobytes of memory did in 1980. The ReFill contains somewhat more than that, too. It carries 644 Megabyte of samples. You get over 2000 sounds in all, including all of the Fairlight’s 33 precious 8 inch factory discs. To celebrate the Fairlight feel, all new samples are labeled and arranged in virtual 8 inch disks as well.” – powerfx.com