Archive for January, 2008

Yaz(oo) box set, reunion tour…..

I had the good fortune yesterday to meet Vince Clarke, 80s synth-pop icon. Thanks to dear friend Michael Mulvey ( who was filming an interview for Mute Records, I did the audio, basically making me the proverbial fly on the proverbial wall. The 11 hour escapade began at the ugly hour of 5:30 a.m. and involved many hours of snowy driving to Vince’s unlikely outpost on the remote Maine coast. The interview, deftly conducted by Mute Records alum Roland Brown, will be included in the soon to be released Yazoo box set (due May ’08). Unearthing few surprises, Roland probed past many “I don’t remember”‘s to flesh out the story of creating, then leaving Depeche Mode, the whole, too brief Yazoo experience, the short lived Assembly, and seemingly eternal Erasure. The scope of Vince’s successes grows even more formidable when you consider that he was 21 when he walked away from Depeche, 23 when he left Yazoo with their second album hitting #1 (a feat Vince seemed surprised by when Roland mentioned it). Vince admitted really enjoying the making of the Don’t Go video, in which he hams it up as Dr. Frankenstein and Dracula:

I’m pretty sure Vince said his favorite Yazoo song was In My Room; me, I like Midnight:

Besides the interview itself and the haddock chowder and lobster rolls at Sarah’s Cafe in Wiscasset, the conversation during the seven hours of driving was also a highlight. Michael and I exposed Roland to Nouvelle Vague and their bossa nova versions of 80s classics, and Roland gave us some inside scoop regarding Moby, and the unlikely path to Play’s humongous success. Michael found this very apropos YouTube video to wrap this post in a nice little bundle:

Coincidence, or kismet?

There was the briefest of mentions in the Globe the other day of The Gremies “There’s No Surfing in Dorchester Bay”, which, of course, led me on a Googling frenzy to hear it, along with a bunch of other surf-punk tunes. Within about an hour, I get a phone call from old friend and surf-lunatic Jeff Moss of Boca Raton, who I haven’t spoken to since August 2006 when he was just back from Bali (like I said, surf lunatic). Anyway, Jeff’s been traveling the world with surfboard and Panavision camera and wanted to talk about music for his surf film…….eery, huh? So I go bact to web to find MY favorite surf-y song, Perfect Wave by Boston 80s icon Peter Dayton (of La Peste fame). I’ve searched before, but this time I found it (coincidence you say?) Check it out here:

While you’re at it, my most favoritest Peter Dayton Band song from BITD, Love At First Sight:

Jeff and I will put our heads together in April or May and hopefully come up with some “not your average surf movie” music.

As long as my head is in the 80s, I’ll mention that I finally started watching The Future Is Unwritten, the great Joe Strummer documentary. I generally have a hard time even thinking about Joe Strummer without tearing up (wife loves that…. NOT), but, so far, this has been relatively painless, with a great soundtrack selected mostly by Joe himself, courtesy of tape of his great radio show. Trying to pick a Clash song to link here is a challenge (Charlie Don’t Surf….little too obvious?), but in a half-hearted effort to make this somehow current, let’s go with Straight To Hell, so deftly sampled in the hottest song on the planet right now, M.I.A’s Paper Planes. Remember in 1990 when Soho sampled How Soon Is Now for Hippy Chick? Believe it or not, there were people that would hear the opening of How Soon Is Now, then be shocked when it turned out not to be Hippy Chick. I guarantee there are those that will think that the Clash has sampled M.I.A.

M.I.A. “Paper Planes”

The Clash “Straight To Hell”

Soho “Hippy Chick”

The Smiths “How Soon Is Now”

I’m freezing….

BTW, I haven’t forgotten about music. I’m listening, most days, to Indie 103.1 in LA and BBC Radio 6, but haven’t heard anything (I consider) worth adding here. That said, I would like to share what I think is the catchiest tune I’m hearing this week. To my knowledge, it’s not available to purchase anywhere at any price….

cool, huh?

Buy the T-Shirt…..

…okay, due to popular demand (all right, two requests), I’m selling the T-Shirt (see photo above) here on the site. There’s a $20 charitable donation required, which I’ll match (that is: you donate, I pay for the shirt). Your $20 goes to A Touch of Comfort, benefiting patients of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center bone marrow transplant unit; Donate HERE, then forward your receipt email to, along with your size and shipping address. White only, S-M-L-XL or XXL.

click for size chart

Finally! Good new tunes….

It’s not that I was soooooo busy designing the Limited Edition T-Shirt that I haven’t been looking (er…listening), but there hasn’t been much that gets my foot tapping, so I keep re-listening to volume 10, below. It’s easy to see how, pre-blog, I was content to make a 20 song compilation, then go back into a coma for a few months. Anyway, some new stuff….

Someday, when I make a “Best One-Hit Wonders of the 90’s” CD, it’ll certainly include Soul Coughing’s “Super Bon Bon”. Lead singer Mike Doughty has been solo for a few years now (and he’s a fellow blogger as well!). His new album, Golden Delicious, drops February 18th, and it features this tune, “27 Jennifers”:

 Mike Doughty

Next up, Foxboro Hot Tubs, which is a Green Day side project, the name of which reportedly refers to their 9/3/2005 concert at our own Gillette Stadium (constructed on-time and under budget by Skanska USA). It’s a little cheesy and reminiscent of Jet, but entirely listenable. The 6-song EP has been an on-again/off-again free download on the band’s website since it broke on 12/8/2007; unfortunately, it’s currently off. Here’s “Stop Drop and Roll”

(regular visitors will notice that this is a new, different player; feel free to comment as to whether you like this player better than the usual one)

 Foxboro Hot Tubs

One of my favorite blogs to check is Exitfare, and Dany there has alerted me to a couple of newish bands. Clarky Cat, from Nottingham UK, has that 80s-derivative sound I find appealing. Here’s “Sightline”:

Clarky Cat Clarky Cat

Also courtesy of Dany at Exitfare is Canada’s Crystal Castles. This cut may be too annoyingly electronica for some of you, but me likey! “Crimewave”:

Crystal Castles Crystal Castles

Since the UK is such a fertile source of indie rock, I check out BBC-1 periodically to see what’s happening. The UK charts have always shown extreme diversity, with metal, disco, hip-hop, and folk duking it out with novelty songs for the top spots (Shaun The Sheep appears to be the “Shaddupa You Face” of the new millenium). One voice that gets my attention is that of Jack Penate, no stranger to the indie blogs on this side of the puddle. Very British, somewhat reminiscent (to me) of The Housemartins, it’s hard to say if he’ll catch on here. His current touring schedule keeps him in the UK at least into July, which, for now, all but guarantees he’ll be a Cliff Richard-like UK-only phenom. Here’s his current UK hit, “Have I Been A Fool”

Jack Penate 

Jack Penate

Kate Nash – US release is today!

Let’s see if I and many others are correct in predicting pop’s “next big thing”. Sarah Rodman raves in today’s Globe, citing “Birds” as essential. Inexplicably, it wasn’t on my 10 song set, Dec. 10, below, but I’ve since added it and feature it here:

She looks a little like my friend Sally, below, don’tcha think?