Monday, May 26, 2008

Sharvey New Wave Mix

I created this mix as a good-bye present for my friend, Sarah Harvey, who, after three years, was leaving her commercial post production job to pursue film editing work of a more independent nature.
She asked for a new wave mix and the first thing I had to ask myself was, what is new wave? At some point in the late '70's, punk music morphed into new wave, probably as a way of making it sound friendlier. By the early '80's new wave meant something vaguely silly - Wham and Duran Duran and Kakajoojoo. That's when I tuned out.
But, as I put this mix together, I found a bunch of songs I hadn't listened to in a while that I really liked. Seems like new wave may not have been so bad. The best of it was a very cool combination of power pop and disco. So go ahead, have fun, dance. I will not disapprove.
Personal PS: My band. W-2, opened for Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark one night at Hurrah. OMD didn't speak to us.
1. Relax - Frankie Goes to Hollywood
2. Red Skies - The Fixx
3. Enola Gay - OMD
4. New Gold Dream - Simple Minds
5. Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division
6. She Bop - Cyndi Lauper
7. Goodbye to You - Scandal
8. Ca Plane Pour Moi - Plastic Bertrand
9. Mind Your Own Business - Delta 5
10. When You Were Mine - Christina
11. I Want Money - Flying Lizards
12. TVOD - The Normal
13. Time (Clock of the Heart) - Culture Club
14. True - Spandau Ballet
15. The Paris Match (Tracy Version)
16. Sugar Hiccup - Cocteau Twins
17. Say Hello, Wave Goodbye - Soft Cell


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

1980's Mix

The 1980's was not a great decade for me when it came to music appreciation, since I was semi-comatose for much of the time. To be truthful, my strongest musical memory is listening to the Cocteau Twins. I liked them so much I (unwittingly) bought several of their albums twice.
However, even though I bottomed out in 1988, and much of the decade leading up to that occasion was a vague blur, several things stand out: the heady early days of MTV, the cheap synthy sound of the new romantic movement (I can't bring myself to capitalize that phrase), one-hit wonders like "99 Luftballoons," a trip to Barbados that was highlighted by discovering the great Calypso pop singer Mighty Gabby.
My own musical aspirations ground to a halt in 1982 after I did a "poetry reading" at the Mudd Club organized by Lydia Lunch and featuring Thurston Moore, Nick Cave and several other downtown performers way better known than I was. The audience was expecting music and was not happy with our recitations. One by one we were booed and heckled.
I personally take great pride in the experience since I backed myself up with prerecorded drum tracks long before anyone I knew was doing that sort of thing. But nevertheless, by that point I had already started my adddiction-fueled descent into lethargy, and I never performed again. Nor did I listen very closely to music, at least for a while.
Chapter Two of my 80's musical experience occurred after I got sober in 1988. The last thing I bought before I went to rehab was John Hiatt's "Bring the Family," and the first time I played it was the day I came back to work. I couldn't have picked a better album to celebrate my sobriety - Hiatt was a newly sober guy singing honestly and with humor about his everyday life - and it set the tone for the kind of music I would listen to not only for the rest of the decade but well into the 90's.
1. I Can Dream About You - Dan Hartman
2. Anything Can Happen - Was (Not Was)
3. On the Roof - The Feelies
4. Nena - 99 Luftballoons
5. Over the Hillside - Blue Nile
6. The Paris Match (Tracy Thorn Version) - Style Council
7. Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? - Culture Club
8. Borderline - Madonna
9. Blue Monday - New Order
10. Do It Again/Billie Jean Medley - Club House
11. Black Coffee in Bed - Squeeze
12. Here Comes Alice - Jesus and Mary Chain
13. She Bangs the Drum - Stone Roses
14. Bastards of Young - The Replacements
15. There Is a Light That Never Goes Out - The Smiths
16. Talk of the Town - Pretenders
17. Fisherman's Blues - The Waterboys
18. If I Had a Boat - Lyle Lovett
19. Anchorage - Michelle Shocked
20. On the Streets of This Town - Steve Forbert
21. Snowin' On Raton - Townes Van Zandt
22. The Way It Always Starts - Gerry Rafferty & Mark Knopfler
23. Slow Turning - John Hiatt

Mixtape 1980's

(This is a long one.)


I predict that Robyn, by Robyn, is going to be a huge hit this summer. This album, released several years ago in Europe, is only now being made availablet in the USA.
Robyn is a Swedish singer who had a cheesy Britney-esque hit several years ago. She has remade herself as a tough (albeit very white) dance princess, with elements of Shakira, Nelly Furtado, Gwen Stefani and even Peaches.

MP3 removed per artist request

Check out Robyn's website.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Barclay James Harvest

Barclay James Harvest was an English art-rock band from the late '60's/early '70's who fell through the cracks. With their sophisticated, classically-tinted arrangements and memorable melodies, they should have been a lot more popular than they were, but, even though they toured with a string section and at times sounded very much like Pink Floyd, they were never pretentious enough to have the success of bands like Gentle Giant, Genesis and the Nice.
They were also way too ironic, going so far as to record a self-referential song called "Poor Man's Moody Blues."
Another problem was that they came along at a time when art rock in England was undergoing a metamorphosis and the paradigm was changing from Pink Floyd to Roxy Music. And as smart and potentially post-modern as they were, at that point they were too set in their ways to conform to the new mold.
Despite all that, their music sounds surprisingly fresh, probably because they brought a pop sensibility to the serious high mindedness of their chosen genre which prevents them from sounding dated.
(It didn't hurt that they recorded their first few albums at Abbey Road, under the production direction of Norman Smith, the Beatles engineer and Pink Floyd producer.)

Barclay James Harvest - Hymn
Barclay James Harvest - Life Is for the Living

Find out more about Barclay James Harvest at
(Among other things, you will discover the BJH did not go quietly into the night, but rather stuck around making records well into the '90's.)