As ringleader of The Shins, James Mercer has left a busload of bandmates on the hard shoulder over the past two decades. His longest lasting act must be Broken Bells, this occasional project with best mate Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton. The duo’s first two albums established a pattern of flirting convincingly with various genres (new wave, folk, prog, post-punk) before ghosting them entirely. Impressive, but weirdly hard to enjoy. Into the Blue, their third album, is similarly promiscuous, but more frequently dazzling.
Hailing from Liverpool, the band started in 1980. After signing on with Epic Records, the singles started rocking the charts around 1984, with music videos on MTV giving the band a much needed boost. Their big hit that year, “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)”, has gone one to become one of the most beloved 80s songs.
The Nick Straker Band was a six-man Synthpop / New Wave / Jazz-Funk Fusion band out of London, several members of which were also in another London Synthpop group, New Musik, which which had three Top 40 U.K. singles in 1980. Tony Mansfield (who has gone on to work with artists like The B-52’s, a-ha, The Damned, Captain Sensible and Naked Eyes) was the primary songwriter, producer, lead vocalist and frontman of New Musik and was one of the members of The Nick Straker Band.
New Musik broke up in 1982, and between 1980 and 1984, The Nick Straker Band released 11 singles. 1980’s “A Walk In The Park” reached No. 20 on the U.K. singles chart.
Fade To Gray, which was released on November 10, 1980 together with the first Visage album, which of course was called Visage. The group had been founded two years earlier by the great Midge Ure, later leader of Ultravox, and by Rusty Egan, DJ and reference point of the vibrant nightlife and music of late 1970s London. They picked up a song composed by Billy Currie (another member of Visage) when he was working supporting Gary Numan’s tour alongside another musician, Chris Payne. In the breaks of the tour, the two had created this fascinating electronic melody that was supposed to be Visage’s first success.
The voice and frontman of the visage was the incredible Steve Strange. Steve was the first real British pop actor. He was one of the so-called Blitz Kids, a group of artists who attended and animated the Blitz Club in London, in the Covent Garden area.
During the fall of 1979, the moody, pulsing sound of “Driver’s Seat” by Sniff ‘n The Tears poured out of radios all over America. It eventually reached the number 15 spot on the Billboard Pop Singles chart and was among the earliest songs heralding the advent of New Wave.
Sniff ‘n The Tears formed in England in 1978, a loose partnership between Luigi Salvoni who had helped out singer/guitarist Paul Roberts by playing drums on some of his demos. The song had originally been a demo by Roberts, done in 1973, for his earlier band, Ashes of the Moon.
The Brooklyn-based trio has made a very ’80s splash on their debut album “Introduction, Presence,” with many songs not out of place if they were on “The Breakfast Club” soundtrack. And yet it also sounds utterly fresh.
There are clear echoes on the excellent 10-track collection of New Wave icons like New Order, Depeche Mode, Erasure, The The, Yazoo and Pet Shop Boys, but also more than a hint of The National.
Nation of Language is made up of vocalist Ian Devaney, his keyboardist-wife Aidan Devaney and bassist Michael Sui-Poi. They combine to create spare song architectures and smartly avoid the silly flourishes that made some ’80s-era music dated.
Jo, en Mariscal Mauro a finals dels anys 70 al bell mig de l’esclat de la newwave vaig descobrir una banda que em fascinà. El seu nom era Fisher-Z i el seu fundador, cantant, líder i alma màter era John Watts. Aquest era tot un personatge misteriós. Apartat del nihilisme de l’època era una persona força ilustrada però esquiva. El seu so tenia certa semblança amb The Police amb alguns detalls dels Talking Heads tot i que la especial veu de Watts els dotava de transcendència. A més, les lletres tenien un contingut polític revindicatiu. Tres meravellosos discs, una curta carrera d’apenes uns cinc anys i un estol de meravelloses cançons com “Remember Russia”, “The Worker”, “Marlene”, “Berlin”, “Room Service” o el nostre Classique: “So Long“. Tot i la seva qualitat Fisher-Z ha estat una de les bandes més oblidades de la new-wave.