wipers – over the edge (1983)
the landscape of late 20th century american rock music is littered with bands underappreciated in their time yet widely influential. from the velvet underground, the 13th floor elevators, big star to mission of burma, the replacements, esg, galaxie 500…the list is endless (though perhaps isn’t if one takes into account the infinity of the universe)
elbow – gentle storm (2017)
godley & creme – cry (1985)
hypnotic, effortlessly lovely tune from the manchester veterans, perennially under-rated. there are few bands doing what they do, making accessible yet somewhat experimental, artfully crafted songs for grown-ups that detail and elevate the ordinary life. but i could be wrong. one can lose critical perspective when wrapped up in wonder. Incidentally,this video is directed by Kevin Godley -formerly of 10CC and more pertinently Godley & Creme, whose 1985 video ‘Cry’ is here recreated by Godley at Elbow singer guy garveys behest.
The Moomins Theme (1983) – Graeme Miller & Steve Shill
Did I really watch this show as a child? hallucinatory, morbid, melancholy and delightful folk tales for da kidz. I must have been… 6-9 years old? when I was exposed to this strange stop motion animation series inspired by Finnish authors Tove Jansson’s series of Moomins children books, first published in the 1940’s. Continue reading
another music genius lost. what the fuck is happenin? any road, as with Mr Bowie there have been countless articles, think pieces, reports and videos posted in response to Prince’s sudden passing on April 21st so I have collected a few of the more outstanding items that offer some insights and analysis on the works of pop’s prolific pansexual polymath.
Roky Erickson & The Aliens – I Think of Demons (1980)
“When your dreams seem like a prison, your mind seeks to escape, the bars come down, doors lock shut; the other appears in the corner of your eye. Instead of fighting your way out,your body surrenders, the blood stops, your words fail. Something is crossing over from hell, ready to harm, violate, destroy you completely, you just present yourself gift-wrapped in shame and guilt. From a prison to a black box, unable to move but your spirit won’t save you now. Your spirit is now your demon who has trespassed because you were too weak to fight back. This is always the way of nightmares. And this is how you choose to live. “
– Dr. Heinrich Strummel III, Collected Diaries of the Possessed Volume I, Chapter II, 1893. Translated from German to English by M.R. James.
‘I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I’m all out of bubblegum.’ – They Live (1988)
The late Roderick George Toombs aka ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper was best known as the hotheaded Canadian-Scots nemesis to the likes of Hulk Hogan and anyone who took his fancy in the gloriously preposterous sporting arena that is
American pro wrestling, helping to establishing the WWF/WWE brand at home and abroad.
in these solitary moments, deep inside the corporal stillness of the midnight hour, listening to a song from decades past that still affects my body and soul with its opulent melancholy, a graceful collision of classical and – circa 1981 – modern electronic sound.
It longs for something beautiful already fading, dying; it is also a grand yearning for its own romantic essence, existing in an era when electronic patterns, rhythms, melodies were no longer the cultural vanguard, already subsumed into the fabric of popular sound.
Now its grand gestures and opulence resonate with even more poignancy or is that just me projecting as I look back with nostalgic reverie perhaps clouded by sentiment? Is it difficult for me to separate my childhood associations with the song from a clear-eyed view of the song as an adult?
I don’t think so. The emotions I clearly felt as a 4-7 year old as the song played on a turntable in my family’s home for the umpteenth time or when the video aired on someones chunky television set were the same emotions I feel now. For better and for worse, I have had that sense of drama and sadness in my being for as long as I can remember or forget.
Why or how I’m not sure, perhaps it’s genetic or maybe the seeds are planted by music and before we know it or gain awareness through maturity, it is too late to go back and this secret language bypasses common sense, residing forever in the soul.
Does ‘Vienna’ lament the fall of Old Europe? Or a love affair set amidst its decline? Signalling a creative peak that went as quickly as it came and is now a legacy of a particular time of striving in music, 34 years ago, ‘Vienna’ still haunts me; its spectral synth heartbeat, impassioned vocals, grandiose piano crescendos echoing through winter courtyards, empty palaces, cracked marble columns and desolate ballrooms forever more.
A slow dance with tears in my eyes, if you will.
Ultravox – Vienna (1981)