Devo were – for many young Americans – the first new wave band of any consequence. But their super-stylised image of black humour, dazzling visuals and catchy synth-pop hooks caught the attention of weirdos and outcasts everywhere.
Things really took off on Aug. 28, 1978, with the release of the band’s first studio album, “Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!” The song Mongoloid was included in that debut record.
Anthemic, anti-racist, pro-femme, pro-queer English punk. They were, albeit briefly, one of the bravest, most exhilarating bands of the late 70s. Tom Robinson Band (TRB) were led by an articulate punk hero from a middle-class family with a troubled history.
TRB recorded a hit single, a hit EP and one classic album, Power in the Darkness, that featured promotion for Rock Against Racism on the cover. Then it all went wrong. A second album was far more patchy and the band broke up after two years.
“She’s a model and she’s looking good.” In February 1982, the sophisticated deadpan of Kraftwerk’s Ralf Hütter hovered like a drone over a UK top 10 that included Bucks Fizz and Shakin’ Stevens. “The Model” was originally released on the band’s classic 1978 album The Man Machine, but EMI revived the song as a B-side to “Computer Love.” DJs preferred “The Model”, so the label reissued it as the double A-side and created the first UK number one for an all-German group.
“Das Model” (in its original German version) evolved from a poem the band’s artistic collaborator Emil Schult wrote about the high-fashion models he observed in a Cologne nightclub. Some feminists claim the song objectifies its subject: a woman who only exists for the male gaze, smiling for money. Others defend it as a critique of the consumer society which reduces women to nameless automatons.
The early 80s was a golden age for pop duos: OMD, Soft Cell, Associates, Tears for Fears, Blancmange, Yazoo, Cabaret Voltaire, Wham! With their homoerotic image and Nazi-baiting lyrics, Gabi Delgado-López and Robert Görl were synth-disco rebels bent on pulverising the rulebook.
DAF (standing for Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft, which means German-American Friendship) actually started out in Düsseldorf. Only with their third album, 1981’s Alles Ist Gut, did they cement their identity as an electronic duo.
Vienna is the fourth studio album by British new wave band Ultravox, first released on Chrysalis Records on 11 July 1980. The album was the first made by Ultravox with their best-known line-up, after Midge Ure had taken over as lead vocalist and guitarist following the departures of John Foxx and Robin Simon, and it was also the group’s first release for Chrysalis.
John Watts’ 42-year career as Fischer-Z includes 20 albums and over 3000 concerts worldwide with success spanning continental Europe and album sales in excess of two million. Fischer-Z developed in punk clubs while Watts was still studying clinical psychology and working in mental institutions. The first Fischer-Z album Word Salad was released in 1979 on United Artist Records. Word Salad was a cult record in the UK (John Peel supported the single Remember Russia ).
The second album, Going Deaf For a Living, firmly established his Watts’ ability to convey worldly political issues in narrative songs against a background of quirky pop music (comparisons were made with both Talking Heads and Ian Dury). The So Long single (1980) was featured heavily on the fledgeling MTV channel.