I’ve always thought Gary Numan was highly underrated. Go back today and listen through his albums and see if you don’t agree. Honest loud real analog synths and interesting vocals. They don’t make them like they used to.
“Gary Numan (born Gary Webb on 8 March 1958) is an English singer, composer, and musician, most widely known for his chart-topping 1979 hits “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” (with Tubeway Army) and “Cars”. One of the first musicians to use electronic synthesizers successfully in rock music, his signature sound consisted of heavy synthesizer hooks fed through guitar effects pedals. Commercially unsuccessful for many years of his career, Numan is nevertheless considered a pioneer of commercial electronic music. His use of themes from science fiction, and his combination of aggressive punk energy with electronics, have since been widely imitated.” – Wikipedia.org
So I’ve really been enjoying the new Depeche Mode song “Wrong“. As a superfan each new album floods my brain with memories of years gone by. One way I knew Depeche Mode were special was the fact that no other band could really sound like them. A few came close with a song here or there such as Camouflage’s The Great Commandment but in general the clones never arrived. Usually when you have a super strong band it’s creates a genre on it’s own… Nirvana as an example. It’s true you could attribute synthpop to DM but let’s face facts, most of that music is terrible.
I find it pretty amusing that one of the best Depeche Mode style songs comes to us as a joke. Take a listen below to Liam Lynch’s Fake Depeche Mode Song. If Liam ever wanted to be big in the German goth scene it would be pretty easy for him.
“Lynch also made the album Fake Songs, released in 2003, produced by his own company, 111 Productions. This album featured the song “United States of Whatever”, which charted in the Top 10 in the United Kingdom and Australia. It is one of the shortest songs to get to the Top 10 in both countries. The song did get Lynch a place in the Guiness Book of World Records for shortest UK song to go top ten. Liam Lynch is also known for directing music videos. He’s worked with Queens of the Stone Age, Eagles of Death Metal, Spinnerette, and No Doubt. In 2003 he directed the UK music video for the Foo Fighters single “Times Like These”, although it was rarely played in the United States.” – Wikipedia.org
Clearly the best lyric here is, “You can’t see me because I’m wearing black.”.
One result of the internet invention is I can find a constant flow of electronic songs recorded in the 1980s that I never heard before. Now I want to point out that I know several million electronic songs from the eighties already so this is an astonishing fact! Synthpop, new wave, ebm is my freak obsession. I seek every word of every song and every synth note played from that decade. I’m dumbfounded when I come across something that I never heard of before.
Don’t worry, my blabbing is leading this blog post somewhere… Yesterday I decided to jump around in MySpace to find some new music. I click on a friend or artist I know and then just randomly click on one of their friends and see what I can find. We all do that right? To me this replaces going to a record store and searching the bins or even dial surfing on the radio. I landed on the Daft Records page because Daft Records kicks ass (it’s the Belgian electronic body music label run by Dirk Ivens). The top friend in their top 8 is a band called Jeff and Jane. As soon as I saw the black and white scanned photo they used as their profile picture my eighties radar started going off so I had to click. This is one of the songs on the Jeff and Jane MySpace page called Los Alamos:
Some of you are thinking right now… eeew that was shitty. I however think that song is fucking awesome. When he sings, “You’ve got lots of political power!” I knew I had to grab everything these guys made I could find. That lead me to click on their website officialjeffandjane.com and discovered you can download a lot of there music for free!
The band performed in venues in Boston, New York and Philadephia. The music was electro-pop employing early Roland synths and the TR808 drum machine. For some performances, Wally Gagel appeared on drums with Russ Smith on bass. In 1985 the band stopped performing and recording. In 1986, Jeff started to direct music videos and Jane produced video art. Both were teaching at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. – officialjeffandjane.com
I had to share Jeff and Jane with you. This is what music is all about… discovery, feeling, memories, getting fired up! What’s so cool about finding an old song like this is you can open Ableton on your laptop, add some tape noise, retro synth and drum machine vst’s and shoot for a similar sound.
There is great music happening in 2008 (MGMT, Justice) but my heart still lives in 1988.