Thursday, October 08, 2015

Electric Light Orchestra ‎(ELO): A New World Record (1976)

One of my best friends in high school was a huge ELO fan, and I never really could figure out why. I have tried to like them, but the best I can say about them is that some of their songs are OK -- not great, just OK. This record, in fact, is OK, if you know what I mean, and maybe better than some of their other records. I think it is highly regarded among fans, and I can understand why. Tightrope and Telegraph Line are OK tunes. So, if you like music that is just OK, this might be the ticket.
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Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Electric Dreams: Original Soundtrack (1984)

Once again, I have a soundtrack for a movie I have never seen. The Electric Dreams soundtrack is notable for the inclusion of the only Culture Club songs in my record and CD collections. I remember when Do Your Really Want to Hurt Me came out and some of my forward-thinking friends felt that this band fit into the cool new wave sound. I disagreed and thought that the band was appallingly bad. I also had a friend who felt that Madonna was also the next best cool thing when her first album came out. Oddly, this friend had comparatively good taste in music, so that perplexed me. Some people are easily taken in.

The rest of the record has some interesting tracks, from the likes of Georgio Moroder, Jeff Lynne, Heaven 17, etc. It's OK, I guess, but it's not a brilliant record. I suppose the most popular track was Together in Electric Dreams by Philip Oakey and Giorgio Moroder.

According to Wikipedia, the film "depicts a love triangle between a man, a woman and a personal computer." Hmm. The article goes on to say: "Fans of Electric Dreams have noted the similarities between the film and Spike Jonze's Her. But when asked about it, Jonze claimed not to have seen the former film." [source] I haven't see that film either.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Eight Seconds: Almacantar (1986)

An almacantar is a device that is used to observe celestial bodies that pass along a plane that is parallel to the horizontal plane. In other words, it measures altitude. It's an interesting choice for an album title and the good news is that the album graphics make good reference to the instrument. Some record covers seem to have been made in complete ignorance of the album and song titles.

I first heard this band when the single Kiss You (When it's Dangerous) came out. I quickly found out that the band was from Ottawa. I was absolutely stunned to learn that this, their debut, was produced by Rupert Hine. How could that have been, I wondered?

I had already heard Thinkman's The Formula and Rupert Hine's Immunity, Waving Not Drowning, and The Wildest Wish to Fly and just could not believe that an unknown band from Canada could have managed to attract Rupert Hine as a producer. If I remember correctly, I think that someone sent Hine a copy of the band's first EP and he decided that he wanted to produce the band. It's an interesting story, but it still means that there are really only two good tracks on the record: the aforementioned Kiss You (When it's Dangerous) and Where's Bula, which I really think ought to be Where's Bula? OK, if pressed, I might also include Sincere as a good track.

Oh, and one other thing I should mention, if I can trust information from the deep recesses of my brain. I seem to recall that the name of the band came indirectly from Andy Warhol who apparently made a statement that his argument that everyone gets 15 minutes of fame should really have been eight seconds of fame. I wonder if I remembered that correctly? I think I heard this as part of a radio interview with the band.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Dave Edmunds: Information (1983)

Like so many other bands and singers, Dave felt the need to join the new wave bandwagon by dumping his cool, rootsy sound and co-opting an 80s synth-based sound that simply does not work. The Rolling Stones managed to record a fabulous disco record or two, but they are the exception. "Flush the fashion" should have been the war cry from the era for most established artists.

This record is a disaster. Dave Edmunds and Jeff Lynne are two names that should not go together. This album proves that statement. Just listen to what should have been called an ELO-Dave Edmunds mashup. I keep expecting to hear the chorus of Don't Bring Me Down at any moment. Oh, and Don't Bring Me Down is a much better tracks than this one.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Dave Edmunds: Twangin' (1981)

I guess Twangin' is a decent follow-up to Repeat When Necessary. There are some good tracks, like Singin' the Blues. I'll also give him props for employing The Stray Cats on one tune. Overall, though, the listener gets the sense that his best days are behind him.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dave Edmunds: Repeat When Necessary (1979)

A good description of Dave is probably "roots rocker," or some such thing. Repeat When Necessary is a pretty good record, full of some really good cover songs, like Crawling from the Wreckage, penned by Graham Parker and Girls Talk, written by Elvis Costello. I'm not so much of a fan of Queen of Hearts because when I hear it, all I can think of is Juice Newton's version, and that is a bad thing.

I think that the record cover is a bit of a bore.

Will Butler: Policy (2015)

So, I have to decide what to do with new records I acquire that are earlier in the alphabet. Perhaps I will post them and then move them back to the correct place. Anyway, I recently picked this up on sale at HMV. I probably would not have bought it at full price. Having listened to it a couple of times, I'd say that there are some strong tracks, but some tracks that do absolutely nothing for me.

Will Butler is a member of Arcade Fire and younger brother of Win Butler. This record does not sound like Arcade Fire, but there are a few moments that make me think about the band. For me, the strongest songs are Take my Side and Son of God But, Something's Coming also works too, perhaps because it sounds more like Arcade Fire than the rest of the record.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Eddie And The Cruisers: (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (1983)

I suppose this should really be filed under John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band, rather than the title of the film, but whatever. I guess I dropped the ball on that one and broke my soundtrack rule, previously described. I've never seen the film and I was surprised to learn (just recently) that a sequel was filmed.

At the time, I seem to recall that John Cafferty was heralded as the new Bruce Springsteen. It certainly seems like the band was attempting to emulate (copy) the sound of the Boss and his band. There is even a sax. In fact, a casual listener might even be convinced that this is Bruce and Co. on Tender Years, an overt and obvious, yet weak, attempt to channel Bruce. Overall, the album is not that great, but maybe if I saw the film, I would change my mind.

Back in the day, a friend of mine (and Springsteen enthusiast) told me emphatically that this record sucked. That should be the last word.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Echo and The Bunnymen: Meteorites (2014)

Suddenly, Echo and The Bunnymen have become Echo and The Bunnymen again after a few years as Echo & The Bunnymen.

I thought the Bunnymen were finished, but suddenly, Meteorites appeared and it turns out to be very good, though perhaps not as good as their 80s stuff. True, Ian McCulloch's voice is a little harsh on this record, but that doesn't seem to interfere with the music. Allmusic says this: "Teeming with giant string arrangements, widescreen vocal production, and songs that hark back to the glory days of Ocean Rain, the album is a mysterious, murky, impressively nostalgic affair." [source] I will have to agree.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Echo & The Bunnymen: BBC Radio Tapes '79 - '80 (2010)

BBC Radio Tapes '79 - '80 is an unofficial (bootleg, in other words) release with a hand silk-screened cover. It was released in 2010 on the Arkain Filloux label from Belgium. It may or may not be a limited edition.  I believe that some versions were released on coloured vinyl.

Evidently, the vinyl revival has meant a bootleg revival. So, you can expect incorrect song titles and mediocre sound quality, especially if the original copy is an MP3 from the floor of a concert or some other dubious source. Occasionally, there are great-sounding boots, and this one sounds pretty good, but it's not perfect. But, if you are a fan of the early Bunnymen, this is an essential item and you should track it down.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Echo & The Bunnymen: Bedbugs And Ballyhoo (1987)

This 12" single has 5 tracks:

Bedbugs And Ballyhoo (Club Remix)
Bedbugs And Ballyhoo (LP Version)
Run, Run, Run
Paint It Black

It's good, of course.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Echo & The Bunnymen: Echo & The Bunnymen (1987)

After releasing four albums between 1980 to 1984, I thought we had seen the last of Echo & The Bunnymen. Happily, they delivered another great record, this time self-titled, for some reason. The Game is a timeless track. Other highlights are Bedbugs and Ballyhoo, Lips Like Sugar, and All in Your Mind. It's a great record. Wikipedia covers the interesting backstory about the development of the record, which is worth reading if you are a fan.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Echo & The Bunnymen: Songs To Learn & Sing (1985)

If you want an excellent introduction to Echo & The Bunnymen, this is the record to get. It's a fabulous compilation of all of the band's singles up to 1985. It contains a new single, the aforementioned Bring on the Dancing Horses. Of course, owning this record will cause you to buy more records by the band because when you hear it, you will want to hear the album tracks.