Archive for August, 2016

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I’ve only recently watched the Depeche Mode documentary 101 (must-see viewing for any Depeche Mode fan). Although I’ve been a Depeche Mode fan since the early ‘80s, looking back I really didn’t give them the attention they deserved. I had also never experienced them live in concert and the documentary was sort of a wake-up call. Since then I’ve been exploring their entire catalog and have gained a new appreciation for their earlier work. I’ve been especially, pleasantly surprised by A Broken Frame – their first post-Vince Clarke album. Released in 1982, it’s largely considered the group’s weakest effort but in my opinion, the LP continues to be unfairly dismissed. It saw the band moving from the upbeat pop of Speak & Spell  to a more dark and melancholy sound, and contains some real electronic gems.

With Clarke’s departure, songwriting duties fell on the shoulders of Martin Gore. And although Alan Wilder was recruited to take Clarke’s place, he did not contribute creatively to the LP. The band felt they needed to prove they could move on without Clarke so Wilder was relegated to studio work and touring musician. (For the record, my favorite DM period are the Wilder years). Even though there are some definite poppy moments, such as “See You” and “The Meaning of Love,” as a whole, the album has a more mature atmospheric and moody sound. By no means their greatest work, A Broken Frame provides glimpses of great things to come.

My favorite song off the LP is the last track, “The Sun and the Rainfall.” From the beginning haunting drumbeat to the lovely chorus, it’s a standout on the album. I’m surprised the song wasn’t released as a single or as a fellow DM fan pointed out, hasn’t been included on some compilation.

 

Another high point is the second track, “My Secret Garden.” It has a great bassline and catchy synth work throughout.

 

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After spending so much time digging up unearthed ’80s gems, I’ve decided to do a series of podcasts highlighting some of my favorite finds. I’ve always been a bit intimidated by the technical side of podcasts. Fortunately, I’m lucky enough to have a technically-skilled friend who did the recording and editing. The first episode is mainly devoted to obscure indie pop, but you may hear a classic or two. I also provide a bit of information on the bands/artists, when available. You can listen to the podcast here. Hope you enjoy the selections!

Following is the track listing:

  1. “A Hundred Words” by The Beloved (1986)
  2. “Forms of Edge” by 33 Tears (1989)
  3. “Say Goodbye” by Weeping Messerschmitts (1986)
  4. “The Invisible State” by Bill Pritchard (1989)
  5. “Heart Happy” by A House (1987)
  6. “Talk About the Past” by The Wake (1984)
  7. “Melt Like Ice” by The Wild Flowers (1983)
  8. “Innocense” by Conspiracy of Silence (1987)
  9. “You Should All Be Murdered” by Another Sunny Day (1989)
  10. “Cincinnati” by HolidayMakers (1988)
  11. “Between Something and Nothing” by The Ocean Blue (1989)