follow us in feedly
Two Albums, Four Singles: Everything you need to know about cult electronic synth band Yazoo
04.10.2017
08:26 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:

01oozay01.jpg
 
Thirty-five years ago a band called Yazoo (Yaz in the US for legal reasons) released their debut single “Only You.” It was a big hit reaching #2 in the UK charts. The song could be heard everywhere that spring. Unfortunately, I first heard it being tunelessly whistled by a friend over breakfast at a local cafe. Still, his lack of musical ability didn’t disguise the song’s immediate hook and I asked him the title of the tune he was murdering? He wasn’t sure, but whatever it was, he liked it. He liked it a lot. Then when I heard it on the radio an hour later, I understood why. Here was an utterly compelling mix of a powerful blues singer with a synthpop backbeat. It should never have worked—but somehow it did, it did exceedingly well.

Yazoo/Yaz consisted of Alison “Alf” Moyet on vocals and Vince Clarke on synthesizer. The band formed in late 1981 after Clarke replied to an advert Moyet posted in Melody Maker looking for a “rootsy blues band.” Clarke had been the founder and chief songwriter at Depeche Mode. He quit that band because he was “fed up.” What with isn’t clear. What’s probable is that Clarke wanted to spend more time in the studio and develop his own unique electronic sound. For whatever reason, Clarke left Depeche Mode after writing most of the band’s first album and their first three hits “Dreaming of Me,” “New Life,” and “I Just Can’t Get Enough.”

It’s a good PR story that Moyet and Clarke didn’t know each other until that fateful ad in Melody Maker, but the truth was they had known of knew each other for quite some time. They both lived in Basildon and had both attended the same weekend music school as kids. Clarke had heard Moyet sing. He was more than impressed. Moyet has an incredible voice. And he was the keyboard wizard who wanted to do something different.

Clarke had the song “Only You.” He had offered it Depeche Mode as a farewell present but his ex-bandmates thought it wasn’t quite right as it sounded like something they’d already heard. They were wrong but it didn’t hamper their meteoric career. Moyet didn’t really like synthpop. Clarke was undeterred. He played her the track. Moyet sang the lyrics. Yazoo was formed.

According to Clarke, when they played “Only You” to Daniel Miller, the head of Mute Records, he seemed disinterested. But when the publishing company gave it a listen, they knew they had a hit. Yazoo was signed. Now a B-side was required. The only track Clarke and Moyet had was “Don’t Go” which was too good a song to fill out a B-side. They quickly recorded “Situation,” which was the first club hit by which Yaz/Yazoo became known in America.

“Only You” was released in spring 1982. It was the first of four singles released by the band over two years. Thousands of doe-eyed lovers swooned. Nightclubbers grooved. Friends tunelessly whistled it. “Don’t Go” followed and then their classic debut album Upstairs at Eric’s which is still one of the best albums of the decade.

Yazoo became Yaz in the States after Blues label Yazoo Records threatened a multi-million dollar lawsuit. They toured North America where they became better known after their 1983 split.

In an interview with Smash Hits in 1982, Moyet said she didn’t really know Clarke. He was uncommunicative and spent most of his time with his girlfriend or in the studio.

“We don’t really see each other until five minutes before the gig…Vincent and I are just basically different people, but we’re very alike in a way. We’re both very set in our ways, in our own beliefs. We get on fine but that doesn’t warrant an out-of-work relationship. He wouldn’t choose me as a friend if we weren’t working together, and I wouldn’t choose him as a friend. We’ve just got different likes and dislikes.”

More on synthpop’s ‘Odd Couple,’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The hard hitting hair metal puppet journalism of Japan’s ‘Pure Rock Digest’
04.06.2017
11:01 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:


 
Given its highly visual element, 80s glam metal was tailor-made for the MTV age. It was born, matured and died on heavy video rotation, perhaps the first, last, and best musical genre defined entirely by its image. A sexual aggressive splatter of hot pink fishnets, bottle-blonde hair and sweaty black leather, the gender-bending men (seriously, despite all the Aqua Net and mascara, the whole movement was 98% dudes) of Hair Metal Nation loved capering around on video.
 

First he gets tossed out of Metallica, now this…
 
Of course, many countries had their own version of MTV or its metal-centric VHS spin-offs like the Hard N’ Heavy series. Japan’s version was called Pure Rock Digest. And Japan being Japan, they threw in puppets interviewing bands in broken English.

You honestly can’t ask for anything more 80s than a nerdy Japanese puppet (with sorta racist slanty eyes, even) talking to White Lion about groupies or swilling beer with WASP. I mean, holy fuck, people.
 

 
More metal puppet madness after the jump…

Posted by Ken McIntyre | Leave a comment
Move over Tom of Finland; now there’s ‘Glenn (Danzig) of Finland’
04.03.2017
12:28 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Fashion
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:


 
This is totally ridiculous, but yet it exists: A Glenn of Finland skate deck! The art is by Sean Cliver and it’s manufactured through Paisley. The deck sells for $70.00.

Gloss Slick Bottom

Dimensions: 8 7/8” x 32 3/4”

Nose: 7” • Tail: 6 1/2” • WB: 15”

And if you’re not in the market for a skate deck, t-shirts with the image of Glenn of Finland are available, too! Each one sells for $22.00.


 

 
via The World’s Best Ever

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Sex, Drugs & Celebrities: Action figures paired with vintage porn, advertisements & magazine covers
03.31.2017
09:57 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Drugs
Pop Culture
Sex

Tags:

016playbwook.jpg
 
From its sweatshop hidden somewhere in deepest depths of New York’s Chinatown, the evil Super Sucklord has been pumping out a range of highly collectible bootleg figurines, art works, trading cards and pop culture mashups since 2015.

The Sucklord is artist Morgan Phillips who is the boss of toy company Suckadelic—best known for its range of film & TV spin-off figurines in particular its Star Wars collectibles. Among the many other goodies available are a series of one-off artworks created by the Super Sucklord called Sucpanelz.

Sucpanlez feature Action Figures paired with vintage print magazine covers, adverts and print materials which are then mounted onto wooden panels. Currently there are two series available: Celebrity Sucpanelz—featuring the likes of G.G. Allin, Kanye, Robin Williams and Johnny Cash among others, and Sex & Drugs Sucpanelz—which is kinda more self-explanatory.
 
09blacktaild.jpg
 
014hustlesmurf.jpg
 
See more of Super Sucklord’s scintillating Sucpanelz, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Monsters from Outer Space: Glorious covers for German sci-fi magazine ‘Terra’
03.30.2017
12:31 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Pop Culture

Tags:

01terracov.jpg
 
After the Second World War, when everything was all kinda, um… shook-up and most people feared imminent nuclear annihilation, or World War Three with Russia, or maybe even just a little old flying saucer invasion from Mars, there came outta Germany a glorious science-fiction magazine called Terra.

Terra or Terra—Utopische Romane / Science Fiction to give it its full name made its debut in 1957. It was published weekly by Arthur Moewig Verlag until 1968. Together with its rival sci-fi mag Utopia, Terra has been described as “the most important science fiction work in the early years of West Germany.”

One look at these glorious Terra covers explains just why that might be so. Look at these fabulous mutated alien creatures doing battle with strong-jawed astronauts, or killer robots about to off some unlucky human, or just shudder at the slithering rapacious monsters about to devour a tasty spaceman breakfast. These are just awesome, thought-inspiring mini-masterpieces that made Earth seem pretty safe at a time when it could have gone up in a nuclear flash.
 
00terracov.jpg
 
02terracov.jpg
 
More awesome Terra covers, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Come with us now on a journey through time and space’: Mighty Boosh nesting dolls
03.28.2017
12:13 pm

Topics:
Pop Culture
Television

Tags:


 
Man, do I miss the The Mighty Boosh! We need their surreal weirdness back in our lives, please? Anyway, I discovered these magnificent Mighty Boosh nesting dolls by BoBo BaBushka. There are two sets of nesting dolls. The first one featuring Howard Moon, Naboo the Enigma, Rudi van DiSarzio, The Hitcher, and The Moon. See below:


 
The second set features Vince Noir, Bollo, Old Gregg, The Spirit of Jazz and Tony Harrison. Where’s Bob Fossil???


 
These are totally adorable and right up my alley. Now as to whether or not these are for sale… I simply don’t know. Perhaps contact BoBo BaBushka to find out!

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Yes Sir, I Can Boogie!’: The fantastic 70s K-Pop disco funk of Bunny Girls
03.27.2017
09:40 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:


The cover of the 1978 album by South Korean duo Bunny Girls.
 
The obscure South Korean girl group that went by both Bunny Girl and Bunny Girls were around for over a decade, and the music they put out under both monikers is full of funky disco-synth goodness.

If my research is correct, Bunny Girls put out their first album Yes Sir, I Can Boogie in 1978 at the height of the disco craze in the U.S. and continued to release a few albums and singles throughout the end of the 1980s. So obscure are the adorable duo that despite my efforts to dig up much more on them In English, I came up pretty empty handed—except for the four tracks posted below—one which includes South Korean psych-guitar god, Shin Joong Hyun. Though one of the songs as well as the title of their debut album share the exact same title as the disco smash by Spanish duo Baccara, it doesn’t appear to be a cover of Baccara’s 1977 single, “Yes Sir, I Can Boogie.” Flash forward to 1989 and we hear Bunny Girls sound as if they went back to 1985 for inspiration by way Oingo Boingo’s bouncy hit, “Dead Man’s Party.”

If any or all of this sounds good to you then you’re in for a treat because the music of the mysterious Bunny Girls is addictive ear candy that will leave you wanting to hear more. Which will sadly prove to be a difficult task though I’m sure some of our more intrepid disco fans will give it a shot. It’s also probably worth noting that Bunny Girls’ obscurity in the 70s was likely a result of the repressively dark political environment in South Korea thanks to the president and military general Park Chung-hee who lived to prevent musicians from making music during his time in office. In fact, after Bunny Girls’ fuzzy collaborator Shin Joong Hyun flatly refused to write a song for the strongman in 1972, he was blacklisted from the music industry in his homeland and his music was banned. A few years later Hyun got popped for marijuana possession and spent several years traveling between psychiatric hospitals as well as prison, where he was tortured. Which all proves at least one thing pretty clearly—if you were making pop music in South Korea in the 1970s, you were a goddam hero.

But enough of that—let’s get down to the sounds of the Bunny Girls, shall we? Yes, sir we can boogie, after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Glass night lights of David Lynch, John Waters, Robert Smith, Sonic Youth and many more!
03.27.2017
08:56 am

Topics:
Movies
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:


David Lynch

I have a thing for night lights. Probably because they work. They make the dead of night less creepy and I never stub my toe in the dark. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover these handmade glass night lights by Etsy shop Hunky Dory Studio.

There are over 345 different night lights for sale on the Hunky Dory Studio Etsy page. I picked the ones I liked. If you don’t see anything you dig, I’m almost certain you’ll find something on their page. 

Each night light sells for $30.00.


Lou Reed
 

John Waters
 

Sonic Youth
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
When Quentin Tarantino played an Elvis Impersonator on ‘The Golden Girls’
03.24.2017
08:03 am

Topics:
Pop Culture
Television

Tags:


 
In 1988, before Quentin Tarantino had sold his scripts for True Romance or Natural Born Killers, leading the way to secure a deal to direct his first film Reservoir Dogs, he appeared for a few seconds as an Elvis impersonator at Sophia’s wedding in an episode of The Golden Girls.

Tarantino discussed the appearance in a 1994 Playboy interview:

“Well, it was kind of a high point because it was one of the few times that I actually got hired for a job. I was one of 12 Elvis impersonators, really just a glorified extra. For some reason they had us sing Don Ho’s ‘Hawaiian Love Chant.’ All the other Elvis impersonators wore Vegas-style jumpsuits. But I wore my own clothes, because I was, like, the Sun Records Elvis. I was the hillbilly cat Elvis. I was the real Elvis; everyone else was Elvis after he sold out.”

Indeed, Tarantino’s Elvis look doesn’t seem too far off from the look he sports in his 1987 unfinished directorial debut, My Best Friend’s Birthday, in which a character he plays in the film seems obsessed with Elvis (a theme that would carry on through other films in Tarantino’s body of work).

See QT in action as Elvis after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
‘The Rock and Roll Singer’: On tour with the legendary Gene Vincent in 1969
03.23.2017
01:43 pm

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:

01sweegene.jpeg
 
Never underestimate the power of imitation.

Elvis Presley never toured Britain. The only time the King set foot in the UK was during a brief stopover to refuel the army plane that was taking him home at Prestwick Airport in 1960. With no Presley tours, ever, there was a wide open gap for homegrown talent to fill.

First there was Tommy Steele. Steele was good—but he had no edge. He was wholesome showbiz—the kind of rock ‘n’ roll singer mothers adored. He did stage shows, TV light entertainment shows and even made a movie with Benny Hill. Then came Marty Wilde, Billy Fury, Duffy Power, Vince Eager and Dickie Pride. Each one of these acts was managed by Larry Parnes, a pop impresario and manager known as the “Beat Svengali.” Parnes created his own homegrown roster of rock ‘n’ roll acts. He produced their records, booked their gigs and made a helluva lot of money. His stars? Not so much. Most of his singers never received any royalties—Parnes was able to do this by having power of attorney over his acts.

The fans screamed. The records sold. But the kids still craved real American rock ‘n’ roll stars. Bill Haley and the Comets toured—but they were old and not so hip. Buddy Holly hit it big with a tour in 1958. But when Holly died in a plane crash not long after, most American rockers weren’t so keen on flying to the UK to tour. Then came Gene Vincent. Finally the British fans would find their replacement for Elvis Presley.

Gene Vincent had the bad boy rep. He looked like trouble. He was known for trouble. He was said to have wrecked his leg in a bike crash which left him wearing a “steel sheath” for the rest of his life. His biggest hit was “Be-Bop-a-Lula” in 1956—which was the best Elvis song that Presley never recorded. It made Gene Vincent famous. He toured the US with his band the Blue Caps. He made TV and movie appearances but never quite followed up the success he had with “Be-Bop-a-Lula.” The taxman came after him. Vincent allegedly sold his band’s equipment to pay off the debt. It was the start of a pattern that was to frame the rest of his life.

Vincent was going nowhere fast when an offer came to tour England in 1959. TV producer Jack Good booked Vincent on to his pop show Boy Meets Girl. Good hated Vincent’s look. The singer arrived in his trademark green Teddy Boy jacket with “GV” emblazoned on the pockets. Good dressed him in black leather—leather trousers, leather jacket, leather gloves, jet black t-shirt. and sparkling medallion. It was the image that defined bad boy rock ‘n’ roll.

His appearance on Boy Meets Girl made Gene Vincent a legend. He was booked to tour the UK. Sell-out gigs across the country and then in Europe. The Brits couldn’t get enough of this Yankee rock ‘n’ roll singer.

Watch Gene Vincent on the road in 1969, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Page 2 of 211  < 1 2 3 4 >  Last ›