British deejay Grum’s ‘Through The Night’ is an 80’s inspired dance jam that reminds me of some of my favorite groups of that much maligned era: The Human League, ABC, Pet Shop Boys, Spandau Ballet… The video directed by a mysterioso group called The General Assembly is a hilarious, homo-erotic homage to ‘buddy films’ of the 80’s. Brilliant.
Michael Been lead singer, songwriter and guitarist of 80’s band The Call has died of a heart attack at the age of 60. He was in Belgium acting as sound engineer for his son’s band Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.
The Call were one of the finest, smartest and most underrated bands of the 80’s. Michael wrote passionate anthems that went beyond simple bombast. His lyrics had depth, intelligence and incisive political content. He was highly regarded among musicians and collaborated with many, including Bono, Peter Gabriel and Robbie Robertson. His music was free of gimmicks and fashionable poses and, as a result, has stood the test of time.
Michael went from fronting his own band to becoming a guiding force in the development of his son Robert’s musical career. He co-produced and engineered several BRMC albums.
I was a big fan of The Call. They were the real deal. There was something about Michael that immediately appealed to me. His writing was terrific and he seemed like a decent, soulful, and genuine human being - nothing slick or phony about the guy. I listened to his songs and I know they seeped into my own writing and music. I can’t say that about many of my contemporaries in the 80’s. I respected Michael and I loved his music.
More goodness from Michael Been and The Call after the jump…
Over the past few years there have been a number of fanboys who have attempted to reconstruct Star Wars as a silent film. They convert the film to black and white, speed it up and add an old-fashioned piano score. But the ones I’ve seen have failed miserably to authentically replicate the actual look of a real silent movie…until now. This new one succeeds marvelously. It looks like something unearthed from the 1920’s - a really shitty print of a Metropolis outtake. Mark Hamill’s melodramatic facial expressions, his broad gestures and the heightened shadowing of his eyes resemble that of so many actors of the silent era.
Joe Franklin was the king of latenight television in New York City. I watched his show religiously during the late 70’s/early 80’s. After a few shots of Jack Daniels and half a dozen lines of Peruvian flake, there was nothing more mesmerizing than the loopy surrealism of Joe Franklin. His stream of consciousness raps, fractured and deliriously deft, coupled with his vast knowledge of TV, music and movie trivia, was like listening to the Akashic Record of 20th century pop culture being transmitted through an Elf on meth. Franklin was a character in a David Lynch movie before David Lynch had even made a movie. He was a trip. And punk rockers loved him.
Here’s a wonderful clip of Joey and Marky Ramone on The Joe Franklin Show. As you will see, Joey is somewhat in awe of the genius of Joe. This was aired in 1988.
I gotta give props to Joe’s sidekick, bug-eyed deejay Paul Cavalconte, for being ultra-hip, despite The Smiths question.
Spike Kinsey not only offers solid tips on getting in shape and some pretty tasty floor moves, he does so with a philosophical underpinning based on the teachings of Paula Abdul. Spike is not only a dancer, he’s a thinker. Less than a hundred views on Youtube. Show Spike some respect. He’s workin’ hard for all of us. I like this guy. He’s got a positive vibe.
Here’s a rarity: Elvis Presley’s down and dirty cover of Percy Mayfield’s Stranger In My Own Town. The Houndblog uploaded this raunchy and bluesy number to his website and Dangerous Minds’ Ron Nachmann brought it to my attention. I’ve heard a lot of bootleg recordings of Elvis cussin’, but this one is The King at his foulmouthed best. In addition, his singing is pretty damn soulful.
I added Stranger In My Own Town as the audio track on this video montage of Elvis clips, which includes some cool home movie footage.
Behold the perplexing multi-media underground electropop darlings of Tokyo, Trippple Nippple. Their stage show sounds like a J-Pop version of out-there 70s performance artists, The Kipper Kids, and features stuff like eggs, glitter, milk, blood and rotting food. From an interview posted today at the Dazed and Confused blog:
Dazed Digital: Is there symbolism behind your costumes and performances?
Qrea Nippple: Last time we were doing some guillotine things, and we cut so many heads off balloons. The helium goes to the ceiling. Yuka was crying like, “Oh I feel so guilty for killing so many balloon heads, so I drew some really wicked, bad faces on the balloons, so she wouldn’t feel guilty for cutting their heads off. ”
Dazed Digital: What were some of your most memorable performances?
Yuka Nippple: We have a lot of stories about making a mess. We played club Asia in Tokyo and our costumes were mud, just that. And we put on some blonde hair ponytails. We were just mud and blonde hair ponytail. That was our costume. It was a lot of fun as always. But in the morning when the lights turned on, the whole club was covered in dry mud. And everyone went mad, and everyone had to clean up until about 9am in the morning. We made a lot of people really upset. We didn’t mean to of course, but my bad, but I’d like to announce that we can do “Not dirty one” too! People sometimes misunderstand what we are, but we are musicians!
Dazed Digital: So where did you acquire all this mud?
Yuka Nippple: Amazing, amazing store called Tokyu Hands in Shibuya. It’s a department store with 21 floors of DIY stuff. We get everything from there. You can spend a day just looking for things. We found rice-field mud in a packet.