Abwärts (“Downwards”) is a West German post-punk group from Hamburg. Members Mark Chung and FM Einheit would leave the group in the early 1980s to join the Berlin-based band Einstürzende Neubauten. Their best-known recordings include the single “Computerstaat” (“Computer State”) (1980) and the LP’s Amok Koma (1981) and Der Westen ist Einsam (“The West Is Lonely”) (1982), the latter in particular being regarded as a classic of West German post-punk. The group is profiled along with other contemporaries in Jürgen Teipel’s 2001 documentary novel Verschwende Deine Jugend.
Oh Yeah—also labelled as Oh Yeah (On the Radio) or Oh Yeah (There’s a Band Playing On the Radio) on certain releases—is a hit single by British band Roxy Music. It was taken from their 1980 album Flesh and Blood. It is the second release from the album and hit #5 on the UK Singles Chart, as the previous single “Over You” had also done. This song was followed by the UK Top 20 hit “Same Old Scene”. Bryan Ferry explained to The Mail on Sunday: “In this song I was trying to create a picture of Americana, and long hot summer evenings at drive-in movies. It is wistful and nostalgic, rather like a country record.” The song was backed by the non-LP track “South Downs”, a synth instrumental by Ferry, or by the album tracks “Rain Rain Rain” (in the USA) and “In the Midnight Hour” (in Australia and South Africa). “South Downs” when re-released on the “The Thrill of It All” boxset was accidentally released backwards, but due to the synthetic nature of the string sound, it didn’t sound weird. The original version reappeared on a 3-track CD single with “Jealous Guy” and “Lover”.
Signing Off is the debut album by British reggae band UB40, released in the UK on 29 August 1980 by Dudley-based independent label Graduate Records. It was an immediate success in their home country, reaching number 2 on the UK albums chart, and made UB40 the most popular reggae band in Britain, several years before the band found international fame. The politically-concerned lyrics struck a chord in a country with widespread public concerns about high unemployment, the policies of the recently elected Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher, and the rise of the racist National Front party, while the record’s dub-influenced rhythms reflected the late 1970s influence in British pop music of West Indian music introduced by immigrants from the Caribbean after the Second World War, particularly reggae and ska – this was typified by the 2 Tone movement, at that point at the height of its success and led by fellow West Midlands act The Specials, with whom UB40 drew comparisons due to their multiracial band line-up and socialist views. “Burden of Shame” recounted the misdeeds performed in the name of British Imperialism.
I post today a gift from Jammagica blog, the second album from the Guelewar from Gambia. A band which plays afro-fusion, jazz, psych, funk and mandingo music cocktail sprinkled with Senegalese sabar and tama percussions. The singer and composer is Moussa N’Gom and his music is really singular. I also love the psychedelic cover. [Source]
One of the few 45s I still own, The Slit’s wonderful cover of “Man Next Door,” a reggae classic associated with both John Holt (who wrote it) and the “Crown Prince of Reggae,” Dennis Brown (who covered it. So Did Massive Attack). This non-album, 1980 production was mixed by Adrian Sherwood, Adam Kidron and the Slits themselves. Produced by Dennis Bovell. [Source]
Martin Rev’s first solo album is a bulletin from this time of clashing tribes and new freedoms. Released in early 1980 on Charles Ball’s Lust/Unlust label, Martin Rev is an early analogue electronic classic. Live and on record, the tension between Rev’s hypnotic, relentless drum machine rustles and Alan Vega’s wild performance artistry was electrifying. Shorn of Vega’s method vocals, these six tracks explore minimal synthetics to great effect. [Source]
“Happy New Year” is a popular song by Swedish pop group ABBA from their 1980 album Super Trouper. The lead vocals are by Agnetha Fältskog. The song’s working title was all the more festive and humorous; “Daddy Don’t Get Drunk on Christmas Day”. Although recorded in 1980, the English-language song wasn’t released as a single until 1999 and charted in Sweden, The Netherlands (#8), and Germany (#75), to promote the CD re-release of many of ABBA’s singles.
Vimeo version for fans behind the GEMA wall:
“Evidently Chickentown” is a poem by the English performance poet John Cooper Clarke. The poem uses repeated profanity to convey a sense of futility and exasperation. Featured on Clarke’s 1980 album Snap, Crackle & Bop, the realism of its lyrics is married with haunting, edgy arrangements. “Evidently Chickentown” appears in Danny Boyle’s 2001 film Strumpet, in which the protagonist, portrayed by Christopher Eccleston, recites the poem in a pub; and at the end of “Stage 5″, a 2007 episode of the American television drama The Sopranos. Clarke appears as himself reciting the poem in the 2007 British film Control.
Read a 2012 interview with John Cooper Clarke in the Guardian here.
Chrome was an American experimental rock group founded in San Francisco, California in 1975. Chrome took part of their inspiration for their rough and sometimes chaotic music from punk pioneers like The Stooges. The sound of the group was often coarse and featured heavy elements of feedback and distortion. Their experiments in mixing synthesized noise with rock instrumentation have been cited as a forerunner of industrial rock music.
[Inspired by P.G. Frandsen and Jan Fex]
Are You Glad to Be in America? is an album by American guitarist James Blood Ulmer recorded in 1980 and originally released on the Rough Trade label in the UK in 1980 and the Artists House label in the US in 1981. The album was rereleased on CD on the Japanese DIW label in 1999. The Allmusic review by Nathan Bush awarded the album 4 stars and states “Shards of jazz, rock, funk, and surf guitar are shuffled together and unfurl in frenetic lines. At times the rhythms are too rigid and the results sound like an experiment from which the musicians are trying to break free. At best, the individuals lose themselves in a highly charged dialogue”. Trouser Press describes Are You Glad to Be in America? as an “exceptionally fine” album that “reveals a staggering understanding of the roots of jazz, dance music, Eastern polyrhythms and harmolodic textures in a lively sound mix….[T]he music fairly crackles.”