Saturday, December 6, 2014

Top Songs of 2014

Compiled from the number of views received on YouTube as of 12/6/2014, here are the rankings for the best songs released this year. What was your favorite new release this year?

1. U2 - Every Breaking Wave 564,967
2. Billy Idol - Can't Break Me Down 'Kings & Queens of the Underground' 389,041
3. JIMMY SOMERVILLE - Smalltown Boy (Reprise 2014) 295,477
4. Morrissey - World Peace Is None Of Your Business, debuts at #14! 270,950
5. CHRISSIE HYNDE - Dark Sunglasses ‘STOCKHOLM’ 229,859
6. Brian Eno & Karl Hyde - The Satellites 'Someday World' 175,651
7. Thurston Moore - The Best Day 144,377
8. CULTURE CLUB - More Than Silence 87,205
9. ERASURE - Elevation ‘THE VIOLET FLAME’ 63,887
10. ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN - Lovers On The Run ‘METEORITES’ 59,651

11. U2 - The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone) 56,343
12. Holly Johnson - In And Out Of Love 'Europa' 38,262
13. HOLLY JOHNSON - Follow Your Heart 'Europa' 29,166
14. ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN - Market Town ‘METEORITES’ 25,495
15. CULTURE CLUB - Like I Used To 18,610
16. MARC ALMOND - Worship Me Now 'Tasmanian Tiger' 13,413
17. Peter Buck - Drown With Me (w/Corin Tucker) 'I Am Back To Blow Your Mind Once Again' 3,719
18. BLANCMANGE - Living On The Ceiling (Vince Clarke Mix) ‘Happy Families Too’ RE-RECORDED 3,272
19. PET SHOP BOYS - Part 09 [Sorry] ‘A MAN FROM THE FUTURE’ 2,915

U2: Unleashed a Brilliant Surprise

From Rolling Stone's 50 Best Albums of 2014

There was no bigger album of 2014 – in terms of surprise, generosity and controversy. Songs of Innocence is also the rebirth of the year. Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. put their lives on the line: giving away 11 songs of guitar rapture and frank, emotional tales of how they became a band out of the rough streets and spiritual ferment of Seventies Dublin. This is personal history with details. In the furiously brooding "Cedarwood Road," named after Bono's home address as a boy, he recalls the fear and rage that drove him to punk rock. "The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)" is a glam-stomp homage to the misfit voice that inspired Bono to sing. And that's his mother, who died when Bono was 14, still guiding and comforting him in the chorus of "Iris (Hold Me Close)."

This is a record full of the band's stories and triumph, memory and confession detonated with adventure and poise. In its range of sounds, there may be no more complete U2 album: The band bonded its founding post-punk values with dance momentum in "Volcano" and the raw, jagged "Raised by Wolves," and humanized the digital pathos of "Every Breaking Wave" and the harrowing "Sleep Like a Baby Tonight" with the vocal folk-soul warmth of The Joshua Tree. "I have a will for survival," Bono sings in the closing track, "The Troubles." Songs of Innocence is the proof – and the emotionally raw rock album of the year, at any price.

Read more

Friday, November 28, 2014


MARC ALMOND has released UK tour dates for April next year in support of his forthcoming new album 'The Velvet Trail' which will be released on March 2nd...


ALISON MOYET released a live album, 'Minutes and Seconds Live', on November 10th.
The album - which was recorded at various shows on Moyet's recent tour for her album 'The Minutes' - will feature thirteen tracks including solo versions of tracks she recorded with YAZOO.


Spandau Ballet will released their documentary movie 'Soul Boys of the Western World' on DVD and Blu-Ray. The full-length film tells the story of the band's rise, fall and reunion. This archive-only documentary film tells the story of a group of working-class London lads who created a global music Empire, but at a price none of them imagined.
The box set editions will contain three limited edition prints featuring previously unseen images as well as archive interviews and performances including over two hours of rare and unreleased content.

Spandau Ballet have announced an extensive arena tour across the UK and Ireland in March next year. the dates will be the band's first tour since their much acclaimed reunion in 2009.


MADNESS will mark the 35th anniversary of their debut album, 'One Step Beyond', with the release of an expanded CD and DVD edition featuring the original album remastered, two previously unreleased tracks, videos, live performances, a filmed documentary and a 'Fab Toones!' recording made in the band's rehearsal studio in 1979...

Friday, November 7, 2014

Billy Idol: Kings & Queens of the Underground

A behind-the-scenes web series for Billy Idol's new album, 'Kings & Queens of the Underground.'

Check out Billy Idol's new video for his hot new single "Can't Break Me Down."

Billy Idol: Racy, Real and Rocking Out

Check out this video interview with Billy Idol talking about writing his new album and biography.

Get a taste for Billy Idol's upcoming tour in February for his new album. Billy Idol and Steve Stevens perform "Rebel Yell" on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Billy Idol also performs his great new single "Can't Break Me Down."

Sunday, October 26, 2014

R.E.M.’s Peter Buck: Releases "I Am Back To Blow Your Mind Once Again" solo album, touring

Former R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck is back with his second solo album, another vinyl-only release — ambitiously titled I Am Back To Blow Your Mind Once Again — that he’ll support with a short round of dates later this month in the Midwest and South opening for and then backing roots-rocker Alejandro Escovedo

Like his 2012 self-titled solo debut, Buck’s new album is being released through Mississippi Records, and can be ordered through the label. also shows it being released Tuesday.
Buck announced the effort via a recent posting to R.E.M.’s website (see below), and more recently, discussed the pending tour with Escovedo, which opens next week in Milwaukee: “I’ve known Alejandro since the ‘True Believer’ days, and it’s an honor to be able to open for him. I’m also looking forward to backing him during his set. See y’all there.”
See full tour dates below.

From Peter Buck: “Bo Diddley 3AM”
Hey everybody, this is Peter. I am back in Mexico gearing up for the 3rd annual Todos Santos Music Festival. By gearing up I mean that I am drinking tequila at 3am and listening to Bo Diddley. What a mighty, mighty man he was, ever changing always the same. But that has nothing to do with this screed. I am here to talk about my second solo record.

The record is finished and will be available any day now. It is called “I Am Back To Blow Your Mind Once Again.” No false modesty, maybe no modesty at all, I once saw an orangutan try to break into a box of live lobsters on Hollywood Blvd. That blew my mind. I am hoping my album does the same for yours. If you can’t find it at your local small retailer the best way to obtain it is on the web at They will be taking orders soon and the record should be available to ship by the end of the month. This being indie world all dates are approximate.

The last record I put out I gave the working phone number of the record company as a contact point. I got a panicked phone call at 12:30pm the next day from Eric who owns and manages Mississippi Records. He was completely freaked out, their answering machine was full and the phone was ringing every 15 seconds. In an outraged voice he told me, “We had to unplug the phone!”

A sane person might ask, who wants to be on a record label who unplugs their phone on the day of release because of too many orders? That person would be me. I spent over 30 years in what is laughably called the professional music business, and I came to the conclusion that there were 3 things that I loved: writing songs, recording songs, and playing songs. So that is how I run my business in conjunction with Mississippi Records: no interviews, no photos, no videos, no promo copies for radio play or reviews. The record is out there. It can be found. And I am pleasured beyond belief that 6,000 of you managed to find the last one. We have pressed up more this time so they should be easier to get. I am doing exactly what I love in exactly the way I want to do it.
I will be hitting the road in certain places this Spring, starting in February with Alejandro Escovedo. Keep up with It’s the only way I seem to be able to communicate regularly with the outside world beyond personal conversations.

Peter Buck

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Morrissey Cancer Revelation?: Bands That Must Go Into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame...

From: Five Bands That Must Go Into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Posted: 10/10/2014

...Morrissey and Marr have long vowed to never again perform together, and the singer is notoriously anti-establishment and would probably hate being associated with something like the Hall; but, given his recent revelation that he is battling cancer, this may be the time to recognize the band and hope against hope for a one-off reunion.

Read the original post here:

Monday, September 29, 2014


CULTURE CLUB have today announced an eleven-date tour of UK arenas in December with ALISON MOYET in support.

The band are currently in the studio working on a brand new studio album for release later this year...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Steve West: Longtime San Diego Veteran Joins Air Staff At FM 94/9

  • September 19, 2014 
  • SteveWest2.jpg
    'Legends Of Alternative' Debuts Sept.21st

    LINCOLN FINANCIAL MEDIA Alternative KBZT (FM 94/9) SAN DIEGO adds veteran air personality STEVE WEST to the air staff.  WEST debuts his new show, "LEGENDS OF ALTERNATIVE," on SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 21st from 6-10a.

    WEST, long considered SAN DIEGO's 'patriarch of classic alternative music,' exited cross-town LOCAL MEDIA OF SAN DIEGO Alternative XTRA-F (91X) earlier this SUMMER after spending more than 30 years at the station.

    "The bands that STEVE spun on the air the first time around - artists like DEPECHE MODE, X, ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN and THE MC5 - resonate with SAN DIEGO listeners today more than ever," said KEVIN CALLAHAN, Operations Director of LFM/SAN DIEGO.  "His work in this format is impressive and we are very fortunate to have him on board."

    WEST told ALL ACCESS, ""I am looking forward to working with KEVIN, JEREMY, HILARY, WOODS and the amazing team at FM 94/9."
  • Friday, August 1, 2014

    It's JGB, The Dead, David Nelson...

    Found some cool looking early Grateful Dead, JGB, Garcia/Grisman, David Nelson Band, and The Dead download index of shows on Hover over link and right-click "Save Link As."
    This is an OK audience recording of my first JGB show at the Open-Air Amp at SDSU on May 20, 1989. (Got my degree in Music Appreciation, since going to so many shows here!)

    There's a sweet soundboard from my second JGB show at the Wiltern in Los Angeles.

    Sunday, July 27, 2014

    Morrissey: "World Peace..." enters US Billboard Album Chart

    The Billboard 200 chart is officially out, World Peace Is None Of Your Business debuts at #14!

    Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
    World Peace Is None of Your Business feels curiously bereft of Morrissey's lyrical elegance. This, like so many of Moz's moves, is certainly deliberate. There is a directness to the lyrics on World Peace Is None of Your Business that initially feels unsettling, contradicting Morrissey's long history of obfuscation and sly winks. Such broad strokes accentuate his political beliefs -- he has no desire to be part of the voting process, he stands firm on animal rights, he disdains conventional masculinity while still feeling a pull toward pugilism -- while dulling the edges of his typical wistfulness. Perhaps Morrissey decided to wield his words as blunt instruments to offset the wildly off-kilter music of World Peace. Coming after a decade of albums where Morrissey's consistency was almost a fault, the untidiness of World Peace feels rather thrilling, holding the attention even when the record doesn't necessarily work.

    Producer Joe Chiccarelli -- an alt-rock vet whose credits run from Oingo Boingo to Alanis Morissette and Café Tacuba -- gives the record a big, forceful sound that is occasionally too crisp (it's possible to see the digital guitar effects push into the red on "Neal Cassidy Drops Dead"), but he also allows Moz to indulge his every whim, whether it's the ominous, churning heavy rock of the title track and "Istanbul," or the flamenco flourishes of "Earth Is the Loneliest Planet" and "The Bullfighter Dies." Elsewhere, Morrissey sticks to some tried and true -- "Staircase at the University" hearkens back to Viva Hate -- but the album is characterized by its aural eccentricities, which infect even relatively staid pop songs like "Kiss Me a Lot." Such willful weirdness is oddly endearing even when it doesn't hold together, which it often doesn't; it'll develop a head of steam that quickly dissipates as it veers in another direction, playing almost like a series of conjoined EPs.

    Friday, July 25, 2014


    Echo & The Bunnymen will perform at The Regency Ballroom, San Francisco
    with Kelley Stoltz on Sat, Aug 2, 2014 at 9:00PM.

    Legendary Liverpool band Echo & the Bunnymen are announcing their return to the U.S. for a tour in support of their 12th studio album, 'Meteorites.'
    Tickets available at

    Echo And The Bunnymen are still making grand, sweeping, dramatic anthems, and they’ve got an album full of them called 'Meteorites.' -Stereogum

    'Meteorites' was produced by KILLING JOKE's YOUTH and features Gordy Goudie and Stephen Brennan alongside the Bunnymen's current core line-up of IAN McCULLOCH and WILL SERGEANT.

    Echo & The Bunnymen - 'Market Town'

    Echo & The Bunnymen - Lovers On The Run

    Monday, July 21, 2014

    ROLLING STONE: Best Albums of the Eighties

    This has been the first rock & roll decade without revolution, or true revolutionaries, to call its own.

    The Fifties witnessed nothing less than the birth of the music.

    The Sixties were rocked by Beatlemania, Motown, Phil Spector, psychedelia and Bob Dylan. The Seventies gave rise to David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, heavy metal, punk and New Wave.

    In comparison, the Eighties have been the decade of, among other things, synth pop, Michael Jackson, the compact disc, Sixties reunion tours, the Beastie Boys and a lot more heavy metal. But if the past ten years haven't exactly been the stuff of revolution, they have been a critical time of re-assessment and reconstruction. Musicians and audiences alike have struggled to come to terms with rock's parameters and possibilities, its emotional resonance and often dormant social consciousness.

    The following survey of the 100 best albums of the Eighties, as selected by the editors of Rolling Stone, shows that the music and the values it stands for have been richer for the struggle.

    10 Tracy Chapman, 'Tracy Chapman'
    "There was a set of ideas that we wanted to communicate, and we felt if we were truthful and loyal to those ideas, then people would pick up on the emotion and the lyrical content that was there." The stark realism of Chapman's songwriting, combined with her warm, richly textured vocals, brought a refreshing integrity to the airwaves.

    9 Richard and Linda Thompson, 'Shoot Out the Lights'
    "Even in the best days of our marriage, Richard and I didn't communicate with each other fabulously well," says Linda Thompson. "I think that the reason the music was good was that we tended to save it for work." Perhaps that explains why Shoot Out the Lights is both the best and last album Richard and Linda Thompson made together.

    8 R.E.M., 'Murmur'
    "We were conscious that we were making a record that really wasn't in step with the times," says R.E.M.'s Peter Buck of Murmur, the group's enchanting first album. "It was an old-fashioned record that didn't sound too much like what you heard on the radio. We were expecting the record company to say, 'Sorry, this isn't even a record, it's a demo tape. Go back and do it again.'"
    For the most part, I.R.S. Records liked Murmur a great deal, and so did an audience that embraced R.E.M. as one of the most significant new bands of the Eighties. From the mysterious photograph of a kudzu-covered train station on the jacket to the intriguingly off-kilter music within, Murmur quietly broke with the status quo and mapped out an enigmatic but rewarding new agenda.

    7 Michael Jackson, 'Thriller'
    "It felt like entering hyperspace at one point," says Quincy Jones about the phenomenal success of Thriller. "It almost scared me. I thought, 'Maybe this is going too far.'"
    With Thriller, Jackson and Jones were aiming for a dynamic, balanced collection of potential hits. Jackson supplied many of the best songs on the album, writing "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'," "Beat It" and "Billie Jean" (as well as the slight number "The Girl Is Mine," a duet with Paul McCartney). Jones went through over 300 songs in search of additional material. "I was trying to find a group of songs that complemented each other in their diversity," says Jones. "Give me a ride, give me some goose bumps. If 'Billie Jean' sounds good, it sounds even better followed by 'Human Nature.' 'Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' ' into 'Baby Be Mine.' I look at an album as a total piece."

    6 Bruce Springsteen, 'Born in the U.S.A.'
    Springsteen and the E Street Band had recorded seven of the songs on Born in the U.S.A. prior to the release of Nebraska in a three-week blitz in May 1982: "Glory Days," "I'm Goin' Down," "I'm on Fire," "Darlington County," "Working on the Highway," "Downbound Train" and — most crucial of all — "Born in the U.S.A."
    Springsteen originally recorded the last of these on the acoustic demo tape that became Nebraska, but he quickly abandoned that version, feeling it didn't really work in that format. At the start of the May sessions with the full band, Springsteen revived the song in a new, electric arrangement. "Bruce started playing this droning guitar sound," says drummer Max Weinberg. "He threw that lick out to [keyboardists] Roy [Bittan] and Danny [Federici], and the thing just fell together.

    5 Paul Simon, 'Graceland'
    Released in 1986, Graceland matched Simon with a host of African artists — including guitarist Ray Phiri and his band, Stimela, and the vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The album's scintillating blend of lively beats and thoughtful lyrics, as well as its seamless fusion of the familiar and the exotic, restored Simon's career and brought African music, and particularly South African music, to a broader international audience.

    4 Talking Heads, 'Remain in Light'
    "A lot of people don't realize this, but Remain in Light was the worst-selling Talking Heads record ever," says drummer Chris Frantz.
    "Financially, we took a beating on that one," says David Byrne. "At the time, it was a really hard sell. The reaction that we heard was that it sounded too black for white radio and too white for black radio."
    Remain in Light may have been a commercial disappointment, but musically, the band's 1980 album — which combines funk, disco and African rhythms — was years ahead of its time. "It got great critical acclaim, and we felt that it kind of took popular music to the next phase," says Frantz, "which is what we always wanted to do."

    3 U2, 'The Joshua Tree'
    Bono wanted to explore rock & roll's American roots; the Edge wanted to continue the expressionistic experimentalism of The Unforgettable Fire. The creative tensions between them resulted in U2's best record, a multifaceted, musically mature work. "Two ideas were followed simultaneously," says the Edge. "They collided, and this record was born."

    2 Prince and the Revolution, 'Purple Rain'
    "Prince knew this was going to be it," says Susan Rogers, who engineered the 14 million seller Purple Rain. "He was ecstatic when he finished it."
    Over five years later, the influence of Prince and Purple Rain is incontestable. He is one of just two artists (along with Bruce Springsteen) to have four albums among Rolling Stone's 100 Best Albums of the Eighties. And perhaps more than any other artist, Prince called the tune for pop music in the Eighties, imprinting his Minneapolis sound on an entire generation of musicians, both black and white.
    Released in tandem with the film of the same name, Purple Rain was more than simply a soundtrack, and it stands as Prince's most cohesive and accessible album. "He envisioned the film as he made the album," says Alan Leeds, vice-president of Paisley Park Records, Prince's label. 

    1 The Clash, 'London Calling'
    London Calling was an emergency broadcast from rock's Last Angry Band, serving notice that Armageddon was nigh, Western society was rotten at the core, and rock & roll needed a good boot in the rear. Kicking and screaming across a nineteen-song double album, skidding between ska, reggae, R&B, third-world music, power pop and full-tilt punk, the Clash stormed the gates of rock convention and single-handedly set the agenda — musically, politically and emotionally — for the decade to come.

    11 Elvis Costello and the Attractions, 'Get Happy!'
    13 Midnight Oil, 'Diesel and Dust'
    14 Peter Gabriel, 'So'
    16 Prince, '1999'
    17 The Police, 'Synchronicity'
    19 Lou Reed, 'New York'
    20 Pretenders, 'Pretenders'


    ERASURE have announced details of a brand new album, 'The Violet Flame', to be released on 22 September 2014 with a worldwide tour in autumn.

    Recorded in New York and London and produced by Richard X, The Violet Flame is the band's sixteenth studio album release. The first single from the 10-track album will be released in mid July.


    PET SHOP BOYS will premiere new music inspired by World War Two codebreaker Alan Turing at this year's BBC Proms which will take place at London's Royal Albert Hall on July 23rd.

    'A Man From The Future' - which sees the duo backed by the BBC Concert Orchestra and the BBC Singers - will feature a musical 'evocation of the life and work" of Turing, who was granted a posthumous royal pardon for his conviction for homosexuality last year, although Turing committed suicide in 1954. The evening will also include an orchestral medley of Pet Shop Boys songs and
    new orchestral arrangements by David Lynch's musical collaborator Angelo Badalamenti of music by Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe.

    Saturday, June 21, 2014

    Morrissey: New Album Release "World Peace Is None Of Your Business"

    Morrissey's new album, World Peace Is None Of Your Business, is confirmed for July release.

    The tracks are:


    The record will be released worldwide on the Harvest label through the Capitol Music Group in Los Angeles.


    MARC ALMOND will release a special edition of his recent 'Ten Plagues' song-cycle album on July 7th.
    The release will feature two CDs and one DVD featuring a brand new studio recording of the complete work alongside a live performance DVD performed at London’s atmospheric Wilton's Music Hall.
    Marc Almond - To Dream 


    HOLLY JOHNSON will release a new studio album, 'Europa', on September 29th via his own Pleasuredome label. The album will be preceded by a new single 'Follow Your Heart' which is available as a one-track download and will be released as a digital and vinyl EP on July 27th.

    Johnson has also announced a short UK tour for October, his first live shows since playing with FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD in 1987.


    JIMMY SOMERVILLE will mark the 30th anniversary of BRONSKI BEAT's classic single 'Smalltown Boy' with the release of a brand new version of the track which is available to buy digitally!


    CABARET VOLTAIRE released a new compilation showcasing their 1978 to 1985 'Electropunk to Technopop' material on June 23rd on CD, Double vinyl and digital download.

    The release will gather classic tracks such as 'Nag Nag Nag', 'Do The Mussolini (Headkick)', 'Sensoria', 'Landslide', 'I Want You' and 'Just Fascination' and will feature sleevenotes from Cabaret Voltaire’s Richard H Kirk and Mute founder Daniel Miller.


    CHRISSIE HYNDE released her first solo album, 'Stockholm', on June 9th, a record that she describes as 'a power pop album you could dance to – Abba meets John Lennon'.

    The release was preceded by the single - 'Dark Sunglasses' - on April 21st.

    Sunday, June 15, 2014

    My Favorite Year: The Pop Culture Peak That Was 1984

    "Dearly Beloved, We R gathered here today 2 get through this thing called life..."

    Purple Rain -- the film by Albert Magnoli, the album by Prince & the Revolution -- rocked my world in 1984. I had liked Prince since he debuted on American Bandstand and coyly told Dick Clark he played "thousands" of instruments -- but he was still a dubious little dude until his purple reign, when he earned his name and rose to rock royalty. Everybody loved Purple Rain (unless they were stupid or racist or lost): It was the album of that summer, the movie that depicted how we as a generation wanted to feel: raucous and alive and sexy -- not merely hedonistic and icky. ("Take a bath, hippies!" Prince crowed in 1982, on 1999's "All the Critics Love U in New York" -- and although Lil' Purps is a Boomer himself, his mischievous yelps became a clarion call for my generation, or at least for me.)
    Speaking of 1982: Not a bad year, either! The geeks will point to its wealth of great movies, and they're right: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, The Dark Crystal, Poltergeist, Creepshow, The Thing, Tron, even Fast Times at Ridgemont High. I was lukewarm on the celebrated, saccharine E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (and I still want my $39.95 plus tax back for that Atari cartridge!); but I did sneak into Blade Runner on opening weekend -- whereupon Ebert was wrong, but I was right. Meanwhile, popsters worshipped Thriller (whereas I knew my rights with The Clash, and got my brain rearranged by astounding Annabella leading Bow Wow Wow) -- but all these years later, let's face it: Thriller is nice, but it just wishes it could touch the purple hem of Prince's garment.

    So we're back to 1984: 30 years ago! Scary! Yet inspiring.

    First of all, you can keep Chinatown and L.A. Confidential -- because the ultimate movie about L.A. (and probably the universe) is Repo Man. 1984, baby, and amazing. "Ordinary fuckin' people," intones senior repo man Harry Dean Stanton to his ward Otto, Emilio Estevez, "I hate 'em." Oh, how we laughed, and related! (Also: "Put it on a plate, dear," drones Otto's TV-zombified mother as he wolfs a generic can of "Food," "you'll enjoy it more." Ha!) Never had I seen the city of alleged dreams depicted with such grimy, accurate lunacy (and yet I moved there anyway). Repo Man is one of the greatest films ever made. Agree or argue all you like in the comments section.

    In terms of the year that was 1984, I also feel that Steven Spielberg got his mojo back (directing his lovely wife-to-be, Kate Capshaw). Setting aside his estimable important films, I feel that Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is the best movie Spielberg has made (thus far?) -- and I know, you either hate it, or think I'm crazy, or both. Admittedly, we who forked over our modest funds in 1984 felt Temple of Doom to be as jarring as 1983's almost-satisfying Return of the Jedi -- albeit for different reasons. The humor was peculiar, the Gunga Din shout-outs puzzling; its gloriously-Hammer-esque horror scared all the straights into the PG-13 era, plus there was the kid. But you know what? Much like Jedi, Temple of Doom has aged amazingly well: it's a robust, exotic, thrilling adventure -- notably about saving children from evildoers. John Williams' alternately exultant and eerie themes for Raiders of the Lost Ark got even better when blended with the ersatz-Eastern themes of Temple of Doom. And Jonathan Ke Quan as Short Round? Watch it again -- he's totally great! Apart from that crazy overabundance of dust on the perilous rope bridge, I love Temple of Doom, and I'd say so on a first date (even if that makes it a last date).

    On a lighter note, zeitgeist-bottler John Hughes' directorial career launched in 1984, with Sixteen Candles. Say what you will (and I'm guessing you will), but ohhh: funny! And kinda weirdly moving -- for that short span of years, yet another Boomer "got" (and/or exploited) us: What was ridiculous, hopeful, longing in Gen-X -- during an era when the concept of know-it-all kids gazing zombielike into portable telephones was altogether unimaginable. I haven't the space here for a full consideration of infamous character-caricature Long Duk Dong -- but do allow me to state that actor Gedde Watanabe brings as much awe as humor to the much-debated role. I think he's a scream, and he's got a wonderful face. And I'm sincerely sorry if any enthusiasm over the portrayal has caused offense. ("Lake! Big lake!")

    Even in terms of unwashed entertainment, 1984 delivered, as with Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. (Psst: Check today's date. Spooky.) Yes, the alleged "Final" chapter of the series that wouldn't die is similar to the rest of the Friday the 13th movies in terms of, um, plot, and, um, character -- but it's still wickedly entertaining. We sat in awe of the skinny-dipping sequence. We roared for Crispin Glover's synaptically-challenged seduction dance. And we got the unexpected: Corey Feldman genuinely freaking us out. Heck, this third sequel even outgrossed 1984's original A Nightmare on Elm Street.
    Incidentally, if the producers of the Indiana Jones and Friday the 13th series would like to hear my pitches for the satisfying continuation of these respective sagas, I was there, I know where to go next, and I'm your man.

    Briefly back to music: Of course, 1984 saw Bruce Springsteen captivating the unimaginative with his Born in the U.S.A. proletarian prattle (has that "workin' man" ever held a real job?) Happily, from Sade to the Scorpions to the Smiths, much more sincere-sounding pop also prevailed. Queen soared anew with The Works. We even got a poppy, off-kilter Oingo Boingo album in the form of Danny Elfman's excellent one-off L.P., So-Lo. Plus the residual music from prior years: it was sensational!

    In terms of 1984's excellent movies, I could go on at great length (Beverly Hills Cop, Footloose, Gremlins, even Michael Radford's bleakly-impressive adaptation of Orwell's 1984 itself, with Eurythmics' songs wafting like ghosts in the mix) -- but, kind readers, let us efficiently wrap up the best of the best, because ADD seems a smidge more prevalent today than it was three decades ago.

    Ghostbusters: Do crowd-pleasing movies get any better than this? I doubt it. Pure love. Dan! Bill! Ernie! Annie! Rick! Sigourney! And Harold Ramis -- "I'm terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought" -- you are greatly missed: Egon but not forgotten.

    Dune: Another brilliant film I'll happily rave up on a first date. You can keep your Jodorowsky -- herein David Lynch created a classic of sci-fi atmosphere and astonishment. Lynch's best film, Dune astounds.

    Amadeus: Even 30 years later, if you need to appear cultured (on, say, a second date), all you need to do is watch Milos Foreman's explosive take on Peter Shaffer's Mozart 'n' Salieri, and discuss passionately. Thanks, guys!

    Star Trek III: The Search for Spock: Masterpiece. Allegedly Ronald Reagan hated it, and that may speak volumes. I love this first of director Leonard "Spock" Nimoy's two glorious Star Trek features.  
    The Search for Spock operatically summons themes of death and rebirth in a film as mystical and thrilling as Nimoy's The Voyage Home (1986) is hilarious and humane. "All my hopes." "Go, Sulu!" Real Star Trek. In a word: Genius.

    I close with two more masterpieces of 1984 -- both (as with Purple Rain) delivering cinema and songs. 1984 unleashed Rob Reiner's infinitely-quotable mockumentary, This Is Spinal Tap. There've been three decades of funny since then (evolving and devolving), but Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer as oblivious metalheads still stun with their inspired idiocy. Go on, start quoting. You know you want to. ("It's called 'Lick My Love Pump.'" There. You're welcome.)

    And lastly comes the pop-cultural document dearest to my heart. Talking Heads had been astounding little-boy me since 1978, when American Top 40's Casey Kasem delivered "Take Me to the River" unto us radio faithful, and KROQ's pop powerhouse Rodney Bingenheimer conducted a classic interview with the band. By Remain in Light (1980) and Speaking in Tongues (a.k.a. SP EAK IN GI N TO NGU ES, 1983), the band stylized as TA LKI N GHE ADS were going where no band had gone before, melding pop, punk, rock, R&B, soul, blues, dancefloor gold, and indefinable artsiness into sounds which did not previously exist. Along with the launch of Tom Tom Club (including Heads founders Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth), David Byrne and Jerry Harrison redefined what pop could be. (Rolling Stone aptly called them "America's Best Band.")

    The culmination of this phase arose in the form of Jonathan Demme's stunning STOP MAKING SENSE: a concert film unlike any other, plus its accompanying soundtrack album -- which proved ubiquitous amongst smart and groovy people. I was (ahem) in "Heaven" -- one of the first songs I ever learned to play. And it would take more essays yet to tell you how musicians Alex Weir and Bernie Worrell, and vocalists Edna Holt and Lynn Mabry, forever augmented my world. Put simply, STOP MAKING SENSE is still the biggest lightning-bolt of "You can do THAT?!" in my adult life. And though tastes change and opinions are inherently subjective, STOP MAKING SENSE, like Purple Rain, still sounds fresher than anything on the radio today.

    Friday, April 25, 2014


    BLANCMANGE have remade their 1982 album 'Happy Families' for a 're-imagined and re-recorded' edition entitled 'Happy Families Too' which was released on April 7th and will feature one bonus track and a number of new remixes.

    'Happy Families Too' features the bonus track 'Running Thin', with several brand new remixes by VINCE CLARKE, Greg Wilson & Derek Kaye and Komputer.

    Blancmange are currently working on a brand new studio album for release towards the end of 2014.

    Feel Me (Greg Wilson & Derek Kaye Mix) 
    Living On The Ceiling (Vince Clarke Mix) 
    Cruel (Kmomputer Mix)
    God's Kitchen (Komputer Mix)


    ADAM ANT has overseen the mastering and production of a limited edition of ADAM & THE ANTS' 'Dirk Wears White Sox' album which was released on Record Store Day on April 19th with a concert - featured the album performed in it's entirety at London's Hammersmith Apollo on the same day.

    The line-up for the show included DAVE BARBAROSSA and LEIGH GORMAN, both members of the original Ants who subsequently left the band to form BOW WOW WOW. The line-up played five other shows, all of which will featured 'Dirk Wears White Sox' material.

    Sunday, March 23, 2014

    The Cure Return With their 14th Studio Album

    The Cure will return this year with their 14th studio album. The goth-pop greats have announced that the long-awaited follow-up to 2008's 4:13 Dream will be out sometime "in the next few months." According to the statement, the upcoming LP was recorded at the same time as 4:13 Dream and is tentatively titled 4:14 Scream. No other details on the full-length are available.

    Robert Smith and co. are also planning to put out several live concert DVDs in the coming months, but specifics on that project aren't clear yet either.

    What is clear, though, is that the Cure are plotting another "Trilogy" world tour for late 2014. The next installment in the band's signature series — in which they perform three of their albums in full — will focus on their mid-'80s output: 1984's The Top, 1985's The Head on the Door, and 1987's Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me.

    The Cure will headline the upcoming Bottlerock Festival in Napa, CA May 31-June 2.

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

    Thurston Moore Speaks Out on Split With Kim Gordon

    Thurston Moore Speaks Out on Split With Kim Gordon
    Thurston Moore spoke about the lingering pain from his split with wife and Sonic Youth bandmate Kim Gordon, as well as his current relationship with Eva Prinz in a new interview with The Fly.
    "I'm involved in a really sweet relationship and it really does make me happy, it truly does," Moore said. "But I’ll always have that experience of sadness that a separation brings, especially one that was as important, not just to me, but everybody around us. There have been some fall-outs, but that’s to be expected. It's pretty heavy."

    Moore kept mum on the more private details about the split, including the nature of his relationship with Prinz while still married to Gordon. In an interview with Elle last year, Gordon said their marriage "ended in a kind of normal way – midlife crisis, starstruck woman." While he didn't comment specifically on Gordon's interview, Moore said that the two do not tell each other what they can and can't say, and that it comes down to what they each choose to divulge.
    "I’ve had some life issues," Moore said. "In your 40s and 50s, things can change in ways that upset the order of things that have been established over 25 years-plus of marriage. It's really distressing. You have to work through it, it's very personal and I don't really talk about it so much."
    Caught up in all of this was, of course, the music the couple made together in Sonic Youth, and their divorce effectively put the band on an indefinite hiatus. While Moore says that makes things more complicated, his focus is on the future: "I’m in a really romantic place with Eva; we've kind of been a couple for close to six years. A lot of those years, nobody was very aware of it except us. The cat's been out of the bag a while now, that's kinda where I'm at."

    Both Moore and Gordon have moved on to new musical projects since Sonic Youth disbanded. Gordon and guitarist Bill Nace released Coming Apart, their debut album as the noise outfit Body/Head last year, while Moore also released the first record for his new band Chelsea Light Moving.

    Moore reportedly has a new solo record in the works as well, which could see release on Matador later this year. He described the music as "fun, dangerous, liberation of the idea of noise as complete rock'n'roll," adding, "The ideas are coming from my own guitar playing. I'm taking ideas to [guitarist] James Sedwards. He's remarkable and we met through Eva. It's local happenstance."

    Tuesday, March 4, 2014

    Brian Eno and Underworld's Karl Hyde Launch 'The Satellites'

    Brian Eno and Underworld's Karl Hyde have released "The Satellites," the first taste of their collaborative album, Someday World, out May 6th on Warp. You can take a listen to the bustling dance cut above, which blends rushing tick-tack percussion, striking synth blares and crestfallen, near monotonous, vocals from Eno.

    The track also features a number of guest collaborators, including Eno's old Roxy Music cohort Andy Mackay on alto sax and the ambient legend's daughter Darla (credited with lending the track those crucial "Ooh"s). "The Satellites" also includes contibutions from Georgia Gibson on alto, tenor and baritone saxophone, John Reynolds on drums, and producer Fred Gibson on piano, drums, bass and backing vocals.
    Eno and Hyde tapped a number of different musicians to help out on the rest of Someday World, including Coldplay drummer Will Champion and his wife Marianne, as well as soul singer Don-E and viola player Nell Catchpole.

    You'll also be able to catch Eno singing on "Heavy Seas of Love," the final cut on Everyday Robots, the upcoming solo debut from Gorillaz and Blur's Damon Albarn. "I've gotten to know him since we belong to the same health club, though we engage in very different activities," Albarn said of Eno in a recent chat with Rolling Stone. "Mine are mind-numbing, machine-based running things. He was doing something much more interesting: unisex water aerobics. Even in the health club, he's being Brian Eno. I just figured you don't hear his voice very often, so I thought it would be a great idea to get him to sing."

    Friday, February 21, 2014

    MARC ALMOND: INTERVIEW 'Tasmanian Tiger' EP

    Marc Almond released his 'Tasmanian Tiger' EP on February 14th.


    The Jarvis Cocker song ‘Worship Me Now’ just turned up one day, Jarvis had written it especially for me with his writing and production partner Jason Buckle. It was co produced with Tris Penna, and to be honest I had little to do with the track except my vocals and suggesting some gospel-girl backing vocals. I love the track!


    I've actually been returning to electronic sounds a lot recently. My next album, which will be out in September, has a lot of electronic leanings and I've been slowly recording songs with a German duo called Starcluster, and they’re very old school electro, and reference very early 80s, maybe even late 70s, sounds. I'm loving it again!

    Read the full interview at ThisIsNotRetro.

    Saturday, January 4, 2014

    The Best 80s Singles That Never Made the Top 40

    by Xaque Gruber
    As a teenager in the 1980s, I amassed a large, eclectic collection of that decade's vinyl. In going through it all, I find myself listening more often to the hits less travelled, and after some research, I discovered a surprising array of brilliant, beloved singles that failed altogether to grace Casey Kasem's countdown. So I compiled a list (in alphabetical order) of the best 80s singles that, despite their awesomeness, never made Billboard's Top 40 (and in many cases, the Hot 100)...

    Anchorage (1988) - Michelle Shocked
    A brittle, heartbreaking ode to friendships growing apart, this folk-pop classic (#66) written in the style of a postal letter reminds us that in the not so distant past, reconnecting with long lost friends didn't happen with a Facebook search. (no music video available)

    Ashes To Ashes (1980) - David Bowie
    Despite a riveting music video, and a tuneful, inventive hook, Bowie somehow missed the charts (#101) with this moody and memorable Scary Monsters jewel.

    Bad Reputation (1981) - Joan Jett
    In a catalog legendary for fiery badass rock hits, this two minute and 42 second fireball showcases Jett at her punk best. Missing the Hot 100 altogether, it's proof that the charts don't know anything.

    Bizarre Love Triangle (1986), Blue Monday (1983) or anything by New Order
    Top 40 success finally arrived with True Faith (#32, 1988), but come on - I hear Bizarre Love Triangle more frequently on 21st century radio than I ever did in the 80s, and the most bizarre thing about it to me is that it only made it to #98 in its heyday.

    Bringing On The Heartbreak (1982) - Def Leppard
    One of the first metal videos on MTV, this dark beauty of a headbanging power ballad rocked its way to #61.

    Burning Up (1983) - Madonna
    "Unlike the others I'll do anything, I'm not the same, I have no shame, I'm on fire." With these lyrics Madonna laid the foundation for her career. A rock-infused dance treat (the second single from her debut album), Burning Up failed to catch radio's attention in its day, but still ranks among her most delicious.

    Cities In Dust (1986) - Siouxsie & The Banshees
    Was her image too goth? Was singing about the volcanic eruption that buried everyone in the lost city of Pompeii just too much for pop radio? Whatever pop radio. Siouxsie Sioux cranked out some of the coolest, smartest and catchiest singles (and videos) of the decade. I still get chills listening to her croon "my friend" after essentially declaring all is lost.

    Dear God (1987) - XTC
    Probably never stood a chance on U.S. Top 40, but college radio (as it was called back then) ate it up. XTC's scorching laundry list of everything wrong with the Bible (bookended with the vocals of an eight year old girl) was the crowning jewel of Skylarking -- a stunning concept album spanning the cycle from birth to death. 

    Destination Unknown (1982) - Missing Persons
    Sexy pop tarts from Madonna to Gwen Stefani to Lady Gaga owe props to Dale Bozzio, who (to my surprise) narrowly missed the Top 40 with her band's two best known hits: Destination Unknown and Words (both peaked at #42).

    Everywhere I Go (1986) - The Call
    With echoes of U2 and Simple Minds, California's The Call made its mark on college radio with dark, poetic radio ready anthems, yet were nowhere to be found on Top 40. More essential Call singles: I Still Believe, Let The Day Begin, I Don't Wanna, The Walls Came Down.

    Fascination Street (1988) - The Cure
    An hypnotic, ghoulish wall of sound by rock's great gloomsters peaked at #46 -- so why not six notches higher? In 1988, The Cure were considered hot up and comers in late-to-the-party mainstream America, which is crazy considering they already had a vast catalog including a Greatest Hits album under their belt.

    Here Comes Your Man (1989) - The Pixies
    In a year when fellow alterna-darlings Love & Rockets and The Cure cracked the top 10, the moment seemed right for The Pixie's three minutes and twenty one seconds of pure pop perfection to rule the charts, but for whatever reasons, it was to remain "alternative."

    How Soon Is Now (1984) - or anything by The Smiths for that matter
    Huge in their native England, The Smiths dark, jangling melodies had no impact whatsoever on mainstream U.S. radio in the 80s. How Soon Is Now tops my list of breathtaking Smiths singles, but any in their catalog will do.

    I Melt With You (1982) - Modern English
    This radio mainstay (#78) may be the most famous 80s track never to hit the Top 40.

    I Need A Man (1987) - Eurythmics
    Roaring Stonesy rocker from Eurythmics' underappreciated Savage (#41). Its edgy video earned well-deserved MTV Video Music nominations, but radio didn't roar along, and it stalled at #46 joining the ranks of the duo's other great non Top 40 singles: Thorn In My Side (#68), You Have Placed A Chill In My Heart (#64), It's All Right Baby's Coming Back (#78), and Sexcrime (#81).

    I Want Candy (1982) - Bow Wow Wow
    Iconic 80s radio/MTV staple that much to my amazement only peaked at #62.

    I'm In Love With The German Film Star (1981) - The Passions
    A shimmering wash of layered guitars and synths opens this seductive, unsung jewel, which went to #25 in its native UK, but was M.I.A. on US radio. To quote the tune's final desperate lyric "I'm in love!"

    What are your favorite singles from the 1980s?

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