Archive for the ‘Indie Pop’ Category

80s UK indie pop band Treebound StoryI came across the English band Treebound Story while researching indie pop bands from the UK. The group was founded in the mid-eighties by Richard Hawley (who would find later success with the Britpop band Longpigs). In their five years of existence (1986-1990), they released four EPs. The song “I Remember” is off the ’86 EP of the same name. The lovely chiming guitar intro immediately grabbed my attention and the rest of the song did not disappoint. It’s a real indie gem.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

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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)

If you had the opportunity to play DJ for a night, wouldn’t you take it? That’s exactly what I did for my birthday this weekend. Decided to rent out a local club for a couple of hours and invited friends to dance the night away before opening to the public. The challenge? The playlist had to be limited to two hours. Fortunately, the DJ gave me a bonus hour, as long as I didn’t play any later-in-the-night favorites. So, for hour three, I had to reel it in a bit but still managed to throw in some favorites while trying to appeal to the masses. The music covered many genres and spanned a few decades but, of course, the bulk of the songs were from the ‘80s.

I started off the night with something relaxing and danceable and then moved into some minimal wave favorites. This was followed by some early ‘80s post-punk, gothy material that flowed into new wave and synthpop. Even managed to slip in some LCD Soundsystem without a hitch. The last part of hour two was a mixed bag of glam rock, indie, and punk. Hour three was filled with ‘80s new wave staples, jangle pop, and some indie classics. All in all, tried to get in a little something for everyone. The dance floor moved all night and there is nothing like hearing your favorite songs on the big speakers. Might have to make this an annual event.

Pretending to work the decks.

Playing DJ v2

Here’s the complete playlist:

Torch – Soft Cell (1982)
The Last Song – Trisomie 21 (1986)
Watching Trees  – Eleven Pond (1986)
Romantic Me – Polyrock (1980)
Disorder – Joy Division (1979)
Primary – The Cure (1981)
Last Year’s Wife – Zero Le Creche (1984)
A Day Without Me – U2 (1980)
Everywhere I Go – The Call (1986)
Ahead – Wire (1987)
Nowhere Girl – B-Movie (1982)
The Damned Don’t Cry – Visage (1982)
I Die: You Die – Gary Numan (1980)
Messages – OMD (1980)
Up All Night – Boomtown Rats (1981)
Lawnchairs – Our Daughter’s Wedding (1980)
I Can Change – LCD Soundsystem (2010)
Dreaming of Me – Depeche Mode (1981)
Angst In My Pants – Sparks (1982)
Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty-Four) – Eurythmics (1984)
Why? – Bronski Beat (1984)
The Cutter – Echo & the Bunnymen (1983)
Glamorous Glue – Morrissey (1992)
The Jean Genie – David Bowie (1972)
Candy – Iggy Pop (1990)
Dreaming – Blondie (1979)
Janie Jones – The Clash (1977)
Anything Anything – Dramarama (1985)
Sheena Is a Punk Rocker – The Ramones (1977)
Last Caress – The Misfits (1978)
Eighties – Killing Joke (1984)
Mandinka – Sinead O’Connor (1987)
Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You) – Flock of Seagulls (1982)
To Look at You – INXS (1982)
The Ghost In You – Psychedelic Furs (1984)
Blue Savannah – Erasure (1989)
Rattlesnakes – Lloyd Cole & the Commotions (1984)
Love Is the Law – Suburbs (1984)
Crash – Primitives (1988)
Chamber of Hellos – Wire Train (1983)
She Bangs the Drums – Stone Roses (1989)
Ceremony – New Order (1981)
Inside Out – The Mighty Lemon Drops (1988)
A Million Miles Away – The Plimsouls (1983)
We Are Not Alone – Karla DeVito – (1985)
Masquerade – Berlin (1983)
Mad World – Tears for Fears (1983)

There’s not much more to say about the Smiths’ third album, The Queen Is Dead. Released on June 16, 1986 to great critical praise, it has since garnered numerous accolades – #1 on NME’s 500 greatest albums of all time and #16 on Slant magazine’s top albums of the ‘80s. I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t warm up to the Smiths until the ‘90s. Their mix of jangle pop and rockabilly didn’t appeal to me at the time. I eventually came to see the light and I’d be hard pressed to find a party playlist that didn’t have at least one Smiths’ song.

Since choosing one song off the album seemed too daunting a task, I’ve decided to focus on the songs highlighted in the Derek Jarman film. The film contains video clips for the songs “The Queen is Dead,” “There is a Light That Never Goes Out,” and “Panic.” Although not on The Queen is Dead album, “Panic” was released as a single in 1986.

 

One of the best things about doing this series of posts is that I get to highlight some lesser known albums turning 30 this year, such as Strange Times by the Chameleons. Released on September 1, 1986, it was the group’s third album. Critically praised upon its release, it produced what is probably the band’s most well-known song, “Swamp Thing.” The album also contains several bonus tracks, including a great version of the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows,” and a lighthearted take on David Bowie’s “John, I’m Only Dancing.” My favorite song off the album is a bonus track of the single “Tears.” It’s a haunting instrumental version that I prefer to the original acoustic.

 

Lloyd Cole and the Commotions’ debut album, Rattlesnakes, turned 30 yesterday. I wasn’t much interested in the group back in the ‘80s. Their brand of folksy alt pop and whimsical guitar didn’t appeal to me at the time. As I got older, I found my way back to the band and, specifically, this album. Upon its release, Rattlesnakes received mostly positive reviews. Among all the synthesized music coming out of the UK, it was a breath of fresh air. The album is a delightful mix of irresistible guitar hooks, a bit of blues, and some good storytelling. Rattlesnakes has gone on to make many critics’ best of the ‘80s lists and is considered a defining album of the UK “jangle scene.”

Lloyd Cole wrote most of the songs for the album and was heavily influenced by Bob Dylan, along with his English and philosophy studies. There are philosophical and pop culture references throughout, and the name of the album is a reference to the Joan Didion novel Play It as It Lays. Although the lyrics were considered witty and intelligent at the time, they now seem a bit naïve and adolescent. Cole admits to now being a bit embarrassed by some of the lyrics but claims it was the writing of “a very young man.” The album never charted in the US, but reached #13 on the UK charts and had minor international success. The group would go on to release two more albums before disbanding in 1989.

“Perfect Skin” is the debut single. Here’s a live performance with Cole singing about a girl with “cheekbones like geometry and eyes like sin.”

 

The album’s namesake, “Rattlesnakes,” was the third single and gives reference to Eva Marie Saint, Simone de Beauvoir, and the film On the Waterfront.