Thursday, 24 May 2012

Not Every Song from the Sixties is a Classic

The new single by The Dreaming Spires is officially rather good!

It's out as a download-only from Monday, with an album scheduled for the summer. Nice.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

What lies beneath

A post-Housemartins, pre-Fatboy Slim Norman Cook released this gem of a single featuring Lester Noel from North Of Cornwallis on lead vocals. For Spacious Lies missed out on the pop 40 but by crikey it deserved better!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Montreux Pop!

You can barely move in the summer months nowadays for the sheer volume of music festival coverage on TV - some good, some bad, but most indifferent. But the televisual festival landscape was a very different place back in the mid-80s, oh yes. Unless there was a special one-off event such as Live Aid in 1985 or, umm, that Free Nelson Mandela thingy a few years later, you'd be left with the BBC's annual (highlights-only) coverage of the Montreux Pop Festival from Switzerland in May.The line-ups were generally frighteningly mainstream but as I was going through my prime mainstream pop years at the time, that was perfectly fine with me.

As you're wont to do when you get to a certain stage in life, I suddenly became nostalgic for these programmes this morning so thus scuttled over to YouTube to relive them. Unsurprisingly, the prospect of Duran Duran, The Thompson Twins and Bananarama miming along to their biggest hits has lost a lot of its lustre down the years but there were some real gems in there amongst the QVC diamonique bracelets. Have a gander at this lot!

Agnetha Faltskog - One Way Love (1985). Although this track from her second solo album conspicuously failed to bother the chart scorers over here, it sounds rather good to me, and certainly deserved better. She may well be singing over the top of a backing track here but who cares? It's Agnetha off of ABBA!

Talk Talk - Life's What You Make It (1986). OK, so this one is actually from the Montreux Jazz (Mmm, grrreat) Festival but it's a rare performance of the band just as they were on the brink of going all noodly and experimental - and this one is definitely being played completely live.

 Colonel Abrams - Over & Over (1986). There's a nice bit at the start of the following clip where the interviewer asks Colonel Abrams what his real name is, to which he replies "Colonel Abrams is my real name". Hmm, right, if you say so Colonel. While Over & Over failed to emulate the success of his monster hit from the previous year, Trapped (which peaked at #3 while spending 23 weeks in the UK singles chart), it's still a game effort from the militarily-monickered moustachioed man. He left his epaulets at home for this one but still cuts a dashing figure in that tweed sports jacket. Try getting [insert name of modern-day equivalent here. Titchy Streisand?] to pitch up in one of those!

So there we have it. They don't make them like that any more (the sports jackets, the pop festivals or the pop stars), more's the pity. The Montreux Jazz Festival is still going strong though, which is kind of comforting in a way, even if it does involve jazz.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Running out of ideas

Saw what may well be the most poorly-conceived compilation album I've ever laid eyes on the other day, Now That's What I Call Running - ironically, a really lazy title. There are no songs about running on it. Even if there were it would still be a nonsensical name - unless it were chock full of audio clips of people running, which come to think of it would be an even dafter concept (although it would at least involve some logic).

So anyway, no 'running' songs whatsoever, however tenuous. No Keep On Running, No Run To You, I Ran or Road To Nowhere (which, come to think of it, would have just the right rhythm and tempo for jogging); hell, no Tears For Fears or their largely-forgotten 1986 charity single Everybody Wants To Run The World, adapted from the then ubiquitous Everybody Wants To Rule The World in about five minutes as part of that year's big Sport Relief campaign. There wasn't even an attempt to introduce a touch of levity into proceedings by including Jarvis Cocker's Cunts Are Still Running The World (although in fairness that may have risked alienating the target audience). As for the absence of Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill (or, if the rights were a problem, a cover version of said track), words fail me!

Instead the compilers have plumped for a hodge-podge of largely baffling and presumably cheap contemporary filler such as Sexy & I Know It by lmfao (Deluded & You Don't Know It, more like), Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5 (about renowned keep-fit freak Mick Jogger Jagger) and, erm, Maneater by Nelly Furtado, with just the odd concession to anyone with an age or IQ over 15. Honestly, though, 1 out of 10 for imagination. To borrow an expression from the type of person who'd presumably be in Now That's What I Call Running's intended demographic, whoever cobbled this old guff together can jog on.

While we're on the subject, the following video features much jogging and is very funny, so you should have a look!