Thursday, September 19, 2019

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark [OMD]: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (1980)

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, also known as OMD (or, as some people wrote back in the early 80s, OMITD), is one of my favourite bands from the 1980s. They have been called "The Beatles of synth pop." Right from the first note of the first song of their debut self-titled record, I was hooked, when I heard it sometime after 1980. My only regret is that I have a Canadian pressing rather than the original and brilliant UK die-cut jacket, created by Pete Saville, who did amazing graphic design work with Factory Records.

The band has been very open about taking some musical cues from Kraftwerk for this record, and that is apparent when listening. I can't say enough good things about this record. All tracks are amazing, but the one that people are most likely to recognize is Electricity. Other strong tracks are Bunker Soldiers, Messages, The Messerschmitt Twins, Red Frame/White Light, and Dancing.

Later, the band took a more commercial route, but even then I found the music interesting. Oddly, the band enjoyed success in the UK as a pop band, getting what I think was frequent airplay. In North America, they were relegated to "alternative" status -- back when alternative meant something - and so one had to listen to college/university radio or CFNY to hear OMD.

I do remember the day when a friend of mine came over and turned the tuning dial to my dad's console stereo system from 104.5 CHUM-FM or Q107 to 102.1 CFNY, the Spirit of Radio. That was quite the day. Momentarily disoriented to the odd sounds coming fro the stereo, I eventually found a new friend though I did not give up the old staples. That little station from Brampton made an enormous impact on me, and no other radio station experience, no other forays into new music, for that matter, has ever been so important as that early exposure to a world of unique music. That station was my constant friend, until everything blew up in the late 1980s. Now, radio is in the hands of corporations and fools. "And the radio is in the hands of such a lot of fools..."

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Orange Juice: In a Nutshell (1985)

The compilation LP was released only in the UK, New Zealand, and the Philippines. Does this speak to the band's fan base? My feeling is that they were not popular in Canada. I don't believe I ever heard this band's music on the radio. Anyway, I have a copy of the UK pressing.
Though their first LP, the whole of their early output on the Postcard label, and a few well-chosen singles are preferable to this greatest-hits sampler, this is still a great record by one of the U.K.'s best-of the unappreciated. In fact, now that they are gone, we can all take a Stalinist view (borrowing a Mick Jones phrase there) of the recordings they made after You Can't Hide Your Love Forever, while Edwyn Collins fished about trying to reinvent himself as something of a white soul singer, even if his talent meant that you still got the occasional great throwback record like What Presence?! Interestingly, the demand for this collection can be felt: in interview after interview it has become clear what an inspiration this great Scottish group has proved to be the modern scene, starting with the Smiths and moving on to acts on labels like Creation Records. Six boos to the Polydor label for dropping them (causing their breakup) then releasing this, though. What craven jerks! [source]
Yeah, but I am not a fan of the crazy cover image.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Father John Misty: God’s Favorite Customer (2018)

There's nothing quite like getting a new LP from Father John. I've had this a short time, so I won't say much beyond the fact that I like it, of course.

Orange Juice: Texas Fever (1984)

I never had a vinyl copy of this mini album, until I found a sealed 2013 repressing for about $5 or $6. It was a deal that was too good to resist. Why this band was not bigger, I have no idea.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Orange Juice: The Orange Juice (1984)

Alas, this is not an original pressing. I never had a vinyl copy of this release until 2013 or 2014, when I found a new, sealed copy, for under $10. I snapped it up. It's good.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Orange Juice: Flesh Of My Flesh (1983)

Obviously, there is a strong biblical and, possibly, misogynistic reference in this track:

"And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." (Genesis 2:23 - I had to look that up, as I am not a biblical scholar and I think religion is one of the worst human inventions).

The meaning is less clear in this Orange Juice track. From Discogs:

"Some copies of the 12" release included a 10" x 10" card photo of a band member. Different prints existed for all four band members - see images. There was only one print inserted per copy and it was assigned at random."

Alas, my copy lacks the print.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Yoko Ono: Season of Glass (1981)

After John Lennon's murder, Yoko took her anguish into the recording studio and emerged with this raw collection of songs. From the gunshots before the cut "No, No, No" to John's bloody glasses on the cover, this is harrowing stuff indeed. But it's surprisingly good, if only for the fact that the whole world was feeling similarly at the time. One of the most essential Yoko Ono releases, it's powerful and chilling. [source]
I am not a Yoko expert, but I think it's clear that this is one of her better records, along with her first Plastic Ono Band record.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Mike Oldfield: Discovery (1984)

Mike again employed Maggie Reilly in his quest to be a pop star. I'm not sure if it works. My gut feeling says no. ELO also has a record called Discovery. it's sitting in my basement in a crate of records that I am not quite sure what to do with. The other name for the ELO record is Disco Very.

Mike Oldfield: Crises (1983)

The original UK pressing places Crises, the 20 minute + title track, on side A, but the Canadian pressing inexplicably flips the order, and places all of the short tunes on Side A (though in a different order) with Crises on side B. I have no idea why. In High Places features Jon Anderson, from Yes, on vocals. The other recognizable tune is probably Moonlight Shadow, again featuring Maggie Reilly. There are several cover versions of that song floating around.

Monday, September 09, 2019

MIke Oldfield: Five Miles Out (1982)

This is a very strange record. Side one contains Taurus II, a sequel to Taurus, which appeared on QE2. Side two has the lengthy Orabiboo plus three of what I can only call pop songs, notably Family Man, later recorded by Hall and Oates. The original version is sung by Maggie Reilly. It's a good version, but I also like the Hall and Oates cover version. My fav piece on this record is the title track, also featuring Maggie.

Friday, September 06, 2019

Mike Oldfield: Airborn (1980)

This is another of those records that I paid about $1 for. Disc two contains edited versions of Tubular Bells and Incantations. It's a pretty good record.

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Mike Oldfield: Tubular Bells (1973)

The first time I heard Tubular Bells, it was on 8-track tape! Worse, it was on a really shitty stereo console and it sounded awful.

It's weird how the record's big break came via The Exorcist.

I prefer Tubular Bells II.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Oingo Boingo: Boi-Ngo (1987)

What happened? This is a solid record, but it pales in comparison to the earlier stuff. Some love it, but it leaves me a little cold. Or, maybe it's just that I preferred the earlier stuff.