i live among the creatures of the night

laura branigan: highly likely to make you go a bit ‘kate bush’ on the dancefloor. even if you don’t remember it precisely you probably enjoyed listening to the soothing tones of ‘self control’ on steve wright in the afternoon at an early age in the 1980s. if you were lucky enough to do so the song would have imprinted itself on the back of your head, remaining there to this day, lurking, ready to provoke swirling arm movements and dramatic singing should you hear the chorus played at a disco.

this 1984 synth soap opera is everything a good 80s pop video should be and more. LB also sang ‘gloria’ as featured in the wonderfilm that is flashdance, thus making her officially all sorts of cool.

so, the news is that ‘self control’ has been covered by sunday girl, rather well, actually. i’m going to her gig on friday 21 jan at the nest in d-d-d-dalston. i live among the creatures of the night…

sunday girl’s previous releases ‘stop hey’ and ‘four floors’ while not as good are equally as en trend (i.e. pure synth pop with a pretty face and an acceptably lo-fi posh voice) so i’m sure she will be famous soon, or at the very least won’t look out of place in e8.

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what were you listening to in 1991?

smash hits 1991 album sleeve cassette cd

this beautiful double cd arrived in the post a few days ago and is helping to brighten the grey abyss that is january in hackney. it will no doubt have an influence on the music played at the next dirtyconverse disco which is scheduled to take place on saturday 12 february…two days before Love Day 2011. pure disco love.

this brightly coloured package of early nineties treats was the first EVER album i owned (at the age of 10-nearly-11) and my original copy is the double cassette edition. it’s still intact and works fine on my jvc tape deck BUT disco practicality dictates that i must own it on cd if i am to share it with an audience. so i now own two copies. smash hits fan #1.

highlights from ‘smash hits 1991’ (as i remember them) include sophie lawrence’s cover of the donna summer classic ‘love’s unkind’ and ‘just another dream’ by cathy dennis. CATHY DENNIS!

(totp dance moves to die for)

back to 2011 and having listened to half of cd1, i’ve just reactivated an absolute belter of rock ballad by roxette, which is best described as the musical equivalent of a swoon. ‘fading like a flower’ was on repeat in 1991 and 20 (!!!) years later…stilljustasgood.

trust me – it’s worth braving the ten second emi-sponsored ad to watch the official vid on youtube. backlit blonde hair, 80s-cum-danny-zuko-grease dance moves and that leather jacket, marie fredriksson, you are Invited to our lovers’ disco…

full tracklisting:

  • 1. Good Vibrations – Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch
  • 2. Thinking About Your Love – Thomas, Kenny
  • 3. One And Only – Hawkes, Chesney
  • 4. Happy Together – Donovan, Jason
  • 5. Just Another Dream – Dennis, Cathy
  • 6. Fading Like A Flower (Every Time You Leave) – Roxette
  • 7. Get The Message – Electronic
  • 8. Over Rising – Charlatans
  • 9. Promise Me – Craven, Beverley
  • 10. More Than Words – Extreme
  • 11. I’m Too Sexy – Right Said Fred
  • 12. International Bright Young Thing – Jesus Jones
  • 13. Chorus – Erasure
  • 14. Love’s Unkind – Lawrence, Sophie
  • 15. Be Young Be Foolish Be Happy – Sonia
  • 16. Shocked – Minogue, Kylie
  • 17. GLAD – Appleby, Kim
  • 18. Are You Mine – Bros
  • 19. Footsteps Following Me – Nero, Frances
  • 20. Love And Kisses – Minogue, Dannii
  • 21. Baby Baby (I Know You’re A Lady) – Grant, Amy
  • 22. Charly – Prodigy
  • 23. Summertime – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
  • 24. Everybody’s Free – Rozalla
  • 25. Now That We’ve Found Love – Heavy D & The Boyz
  • 26. 3am Eternal – KLF
  • 27. I Wanna Give You Devotion – Nomad
  • 28. Alright Alright – Urban Soul
  • 29. Winter In July – Bomb The Bass
  • 30. Pray – MC Hammer
  • 31. Peace – Johnston, Sabrina
  • 32. Do The Bartman – Simpsons
  • 33. Insanity – Oceanic
  • 34. Move Any Mountain – Shamen
  • 35. 7 Ways To Love – Cola Boy
  • 36. Gypsy Woman – Waters, Crystal
  • 37. Ring My Bell – Monie Love & Adeva
  • 38. Can I Kick It – Tribe Called Quest
  • 39. Call It What You Want – New Kids On The Block
  • 40. Crazy – Seal

honey honeycombs

top on my list of music to mildly obsess over this week is the honeycombs – a 60s beat group with a rare example (certainly at that time) of a female drummer. the delightful honey lantree – whose brother john was the bassist in the band – hopped from hair salon assistant to the holloway road studio of independent music production lej joe meek when her boyfriend guitarist martin murray decided to form the band. pretty cool…

honey lantree from the honeycombs

they are best known for super-60s pop stomp ‘have i the right’ which is all sorts of amaze and was number one in the uk charts in 1964. i read somewhere that the distinctive drumming was enhanced by actual stamping on the stairs of joe meek’s studio, recorded by microphones connected to the bannisters by bicycle clips.

the honeycombs teeter along the fine line dividing sixties suave and ‘little bit gay man’ with their beautiful matching tailored suits and sharp demi-quiffs – appaz, guitarist martin murray was a hairdresser before forming the band which could explain their well-informed sense of style. perhaps.

by taking her beehive onto every young person’s black and white tv screen and no doubt inspiring a plethora of impressionable young girls to join bands, honey lantree gets hero status. she also has a prrroper london accent and remains amazingly fashion conscious, sporting a sharp royal blue box-shouldered jacket in an interview where she talks about working with joe meek.

although 50 years on the band are still performing, honey took the graceful path, retired early and is no longer drumming. she is probably now someone’s very cool nan…

i bought a ‘best of’ the honeycombs album last week and despite being dubbed one-hit wonders it’s surprisingly good. highlight alongside ‘have i the right’ has to be the slightly sinister ‘eyes’, which seems to be all about eyeing up people in bars (or maybe just full-on stalking) – great lyrics, and of course, superb drumming:

everyone loves jackie deshannon, surely?

isn’t she just wonderful? not least because her real name is actually SHARON, and being wise enough to know that a name like sharon wouldn’t sell records – even in the 1960s – she created jackie dee shannon, as a non gender specific nom-de-song (pretty forward thinking of her, no?).

i would have gone for jackie-shaz, personally, but each to their own. anyway, dee shannon soon became deshannon and this wee blond rock star hit the stage, singing all manner of treats including dirtyconverse favourites, ‘when you walk in the room’ and ‘needles and pins’.

the searchers borrowed both of these gems and made them more famous in the uk, and they were well cool. badge of approval.

AND, after the beatles toured with her (well, she toured with them) they wrote a song called ‘ticket to ride’, which if you listen to the opening guitar riff, could sound less like ‘when you walk in the room’:


jackie-shaz also co-wrote the subtly theatrical ‘bette davis eyes’ which was immortalised in beautiful 80s techni-colour surround sound synth by kim carnes in 1983. and she hung out with eddie cochran, swoon. pure…love…her.

and so, it was to my delight to note that one of my NFBs, tennis have covered a jackie-shaz track. this wee cover is ACERS. cannae wait to go see them play live in london on jan 7 @ the lexington.

tanlines in the middle of winter

latest exciting gig-related news is that tanlines are playing at xoyo on 4 december as part of a small uk tour. i will be there, along with a sizeable proportion of the local hoxton tosspottery, no doubt.

this is why i like them:

‘real life’ is the latest in a long line of fine synth pop efforts to have made it onto my itunes playlist and as per the band hail from brooklyn. oh, and they refer to themselves as a ‘production duo’, which is far cooler than the more conventional ‘band’. nice.

the original is pretty cool too, although memorytapes did them all sorts of favours with their wee remix.

lovers lovers lovers

given that i can count on the fingers of one hand the number of good all-lesbian bands (organ, le tigre…struggling already) i was ever so excited to stumble upon lovers. a pack of three (surely they must be) lesbians from portland, oregon.

lovers dark light album sleeve

(the sleeve of the new album is VERY misleading if i’m wrong about the lez-thing)

listen to ‘barnacles’, ‘peppermint’ and ‘figure 8’ from new album dark light and you will see why i think lovers are ACERS:

they seem nice, don’t they? joce played ‘barnacles’ at the last disco and is a little bit obsessed with it too. i hope they come to the uk now that synth is in fashion and their new album is likely to become all sorts of cool. very good. there’s a bit more stuff on their myspace.

lead singer carolyn berk is not quite as marc jacobs modelling-hot as katie sketch but she does a good plaid shirt and wears her jeans awfully well. and she comes with two lovely friends. whatsnottolike? hope they don’t fall out and hate each other before they have a chance to travel a bit further than the west coast of america.

dark light is lyrically well-lez – “you hold on dear like a barnacle on a ship of fears” – and synth-cally it’s a postal service-the xx crossbreed. i like it. and my only question now is, why, in the uk when packs of lesbians decide to make music do we get stuck with shite like voodoohussy and the likes of this:

axe girl

the seattle subsonic blog will tell you more about the loverly lovers should you wish to stalk them a bit.

i play synth, we all play synth

so last week i subconsciously found myself obsessively listening to two amazing songs that i wasn’t sure how i knew (much less where they came from). one is called ‘move it’ and the other ‘time’. i think i played them both at the last disco.

both are the sort of sleazy synth pop that sounds like it was recorded in a downtime warehouse of the sort that jennifer beals called home in flashdance (ie. like, well cool), where the synth bounces of the exposed brickwork and the air vent pipes add to the echo. needless to say said warehouse is located in brooklyn.

well, what do you know. it turns out both songs are courtesy of the same band – selebrities. they are: a bloke that is in a band with the drummer from the drums; a bird called maria; and another bloke. of course they are from met in brooklyn.

selebrities

i don’t know much else about them asides from the fact that they are rather predictably getting blogged about in all the right places, including the lush iso50 blog. beautiful t-shirts and fine synth.

selebrities are playing live shows with hercules and love affair and cfcf. in brooklyn, naturally. love. and there’s a wee interview with them on the addictmusic blog which told me all i know.

get their brilliantly named ‘ladies man effect’ wee ep here for free. love it. full-length album on the way soon, appaz.