Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday 80s Flashback for September 12, 2014



[The 'Mats are Back! -- Redux] -- I'm still in a sling for a fractured clavicle. So I'm dipping into the archives again, this time to bring you a post from June 2013. It's a neat little coincidence that this 2013 Flashback was inspired by The Replacements making news with a live performance. You see, the 'Mats kind of did it again this week (see Watch the Replacements Rock the House on Jimmy Fallon;  Slate.com 9/10/2014). Go ahead, check out that performance, then come back here for a rewind on my Replacements retrospective.

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From 6/14/2013: This week I heard some news that made me cautiously optimistic about the state of music: the surviving members of the Replacements will perform together on stage for the first time since July 4, 1991. For those who don't know -- or, perhaps, don't remember -- The Replacements formed in Minneapolis in the late 70s. According to drummer Chris Mars, the band's name reflected their sense of a secondary status: "Like maybe the main act doesn't show, and instead the crowd has to settle for an earful of us dirtbags" [Azerrad, Michael. Our Band Could Be Your Life. 2001. p. 199]. They were never commercially successful, but they did receive critical accolades and have been cited as a major influence for many bands.

The Replacements (or, simply, The 'Mats to their fans) are probably my favorite of what I call the "sloppy" American rock & roll bands. Their sound was informed by a combination of the arena blues-rock of their collective youth and the post-punk that was in vogue when they took up their own instruments. Now, they never achieved a high level of proficiency as musicians during their time together, but they did evolve from garden variety garage band to a genuinely tight if oft-times shabby outfit. Their songs touched upon the pains of growing up, hating your job, and relationship issues, and they did so in their own loud but tuneful manner. I've chosen three songs from their 12+ year career. I hope they are among the setlist for Riot Fest Chicago. Read and hear more after the break. And if you're interested, you can download a copy of the Replacements' last show in Philadelphia, played July 28, 1987.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Friday 80s Flashback for September 5, 2014



[Unused 80s Montage Playlist - Redux] -- I'm going to be in a sling for a few more weeks. So for this week's post, I'm dipping into the archives to bring you a post from a year ago. Strangely enough, I spent much of this week preparing the sound FX for a theater production, just one set in a different era. So none of the songs below are in my current show.

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From 9/6/2013: I spent much of this week's free time -- not that it's really "free" -- preparing a set of 80s music for the latest production at Montgomery Theater. It's for a scene in which one of the lead characters introduces a montage telling the story of getting together with her first boyfriend. First, she asks for some music to set the scene, but the song that plays is needed later, so she asks for something more upbeat. The second tune doesn't work for her either, so she requests a cheesy love song which is finally what she wants. Researching and assembling the options for this playlist left me with very little time to work on the Flashback. I don't even really haven't worked out a theme for this week. So how about I just share some of the tunes that won't be used in the show? OK? OK! Read and hear more after the break. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday 80 Flashback for August 29, 2014

Cover Image from slamanddive.blogspot.com

[Worlds Apart] -- Though I graduated over 20 years ago, Labor Day weekend makes me think of college. I am particularly mindful of bands I learned about within my first two years at Penn State. One such band was Cactus World News. Although they are best known for "The Bridge" -- their very first single (1985) which was produced by Bono (lead vocalist of U2) -- I tend to remember them for "Worlds Apart," the second single of their first full length effort, Urban Beaches (1986). Perhaps that is the more appropriate song as, with each passing year, I am vastly more worlds apart from the self of my college years. Unfortunately, I cannot spend more time musing on this as I fractured my clavicle in a cycling accident this past Tuesday, and typing is a tad difficult. So, this week, I simply offer up three tunes from Cactus World News, but I do so without my customary editorializing. (I'm sure you're all suitably crushed).



"Worlds Apart"





"The Promise"





"The Bridge"




Once again, I remind you that the rule of three applies when doing Flashbacks. As I've made my three offerings, that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the archives. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

And if you are on Twitter, and feel so inclined, please +K my influence in Music on @klout.

I'll see you in seven!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday 80s Flashback for August 15, 2014



[Revenge of the 80s] -- A few years ago, June of 2009 to be a bit more precise, I created an 80s playlist for a friend's birthday. She's about half my age, so she never got to experience the 80s. At least not directly. I titled the CD "Revenge of the 80s." It was a 12 track extravaganza, and each song fit the scheme because it met one of the the following four requirements:

  • an 80s song by an 80s artist, 
  • an even older song covered by an 80s artist, 
  • an 80s song covered by another 80s artist, or
  • an 80s song covered by a later artist. 

Got that?

Now, I recently learned of the streaming service known as Mixcloud. After playing around with it a bit, I thought it might be a fun experiment to upload the entire Revenge of the 80s playlist to share it with other 80s fans. You can check it out after the break.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Friday 80s Flashback for August 8, 2014

From the Lunch Bag Gallery

[Last Chance to Go Someplace Fun!] -- I've noticed a certain kind of advertisement on TV recently. And I have also noticed some youngsters worrying that the Summer will wind down before they go someplace or do what they want. Yes, we are getting close to "back-to-school" season. There is still time, however, for one last trip before kids give up their sun-drenched freedom for assigned seating and homework. So, for this week, let's enjoy some 80s songs about ... going places (other than a classroom). To read and hear more about this theme, just travel beyond the break. 

Friday, August 01, 2014

Friday 80s Flashback for August 1, 2014



[This week in 1982...] -- I am finally over the jet lag of taking the redeye home from San Diego on Wednesday morning. I am not, however, quite recovered from the end of SDCC 2014. So rather than create a theme and find three 80s songs to fit it, I've decided to simply look at what was on the top of the Billboard Hot 100 this week in 1982. Do you remember what was in the top three slots 32 years ago? Join me in a little walk down a sonic memory lane after the break!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday 80s Flashback for July 25, 2014

The Teen Titans rendered in the style of The Breakfast Club by Cliff Chiang

[See You in the Funny Pages - Redux] -- I'm re-using a previous Flashback, because I am currently in the midst of heroes. Well, comic book, video game, TV and movie heroes. And several hundred people trying to dress like comic book, video game, TV, and movie heroes. If you want to feel like you're at SDCC with me, you can check out Mark Anderson's tutorial on how to draw Batman (but there is, however, no tutorial showing you how to autograph your drawing like one of the artists who actually work on the Batman comics ... sorry). You can also follow some of our adventures by checking out our little friend, Mocha (travelswithmocha.tumblr.com). This Flashback has something of a heroic theme. To find out what songs made the playlist this year, read and hear more after the break.

"Warhead" by Katrina Kuntsmann (at SDCC)

Found a cool indie comic called Warhead at SDCC yesterday. It's written and drawn by Katrina Kunstmann. She signed my copies of issues #1 and #2, and she drew a doodle of her title character for me. His name is Adam, and he has a nuclear bomb for a head. Find her in the Small Press section, or visit her online at http://warheadcomic.tumblr.com/!

Warhead (issues 1 and 2)

Adam enjoys a cuppa

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday 80s Flashback for July 18, 2014



[No Age] -- SST Records was launched in 1978 as a punk label. Founded by Greg Ginn, the leader of and primary songwriter for Black Flag, SST had originally been an electronics company called Solid State Transmitters. He repurposed the company as a record label so he could independently release his band's material and distribute other musicians who couldn't get a major label deal or just didn't want to deal with the demands and loss of artistic control that would come with such a deal. From this humble beginning, Ginn built SST to become the most influential underground label of the 80s. The Minutemen, Hüsker Dü, the Meat Puppets, Soundgarden, and many others released seminal albums on SST. However, near the end of the 80s, Ginn's label acquired New Alliance Records and, after re-issuing some of their key releases on SST, he redirected New Alliance to focus on experimental jazz, unusual rock, and spoken word performances. This activity, along with the overall diminishing of SST's roster, really took the glow off SST for many of their fans. In the midst of this, in 1987, SST released the compilation album, No Age. No Age is a double LP set clocking in at a little over an hour. Notably, it's a collection of avant-garde (for the time) instrumental music. This is notable because, although SST had started delving into jazz releases, all the bands on this compilation hail from SST's staple of punk and underground rock artists.

To give you a taste of this unusual release, which remains one of my favorite compilations, I have selected three tunes and created a playlist on my SoundClound account. This playlist has the following songs:

  1. "Let's Go Places and Eat Things" by Scott Colby (from his 1987 solo release, Slide of Hand, an incredible showpiece of slide guitar virtuosity)
  2. "March of the Melted Army Men" by Lawndale (which later appeared on their own LP, Sasquatch Rock, a dazzling collection of surf guitar tinged alt rock)
  3. Over The Counter Culture by Alter-Natives, a flute and sax driven quartet keen on improv. 

The songs are embedded in a player below. Enjoy!




Once again, I remind you that the rule of three applies when doing Flashbacks. As I've made my three offerings, that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the archives. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

And if you are on Twitter, and feel so inclined, please +K my influence in Music on @klout.

I'll see you in seven!

Saturday, July 05, 2014

There is a Calm ...

There is a calm before the storm.
There is a calm after the storm.

The only difference between 
these two states and the state 
of your mind during a storm
is YOUR MIND.

Words and image ©BSW