Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday 80s Flashback for June 21, 2013

[Go Insane] -- My theater's current production is a play set in the late 80s. So, in preparation for last weekend's tech rehearsal, I researched Billboard's Adult Contemporary charts from 1984 through about 1989. While I found precious few tunes I could use in the show, I did come across a real gem of 80s music production: Go Insane (1984) by Lindsey Buckingham. Buckingham is probably best known as a guitarist, songwriter, and singer for two incarnations of Fleetwood Mac. Well, that, and his often tense and "mythologized" relationship with former girlfriend and bandmate Stevie Nicks. But he also has a solo career with six studio and three live albums to his credit. The studio releases are of the greater interest here because they demonstrate that his true instrument is the recording studio. And his studio prowess is probably best demonstrated on Go Insane, with all of its wonderful 80s pop excess. Unfortunately, the evolution of consumer music from LPs, to CDs, and finally to downloads means that the music buying public cannot appreciate some of Buckinham's quirkier moments: On the LP version, "Play in the Rain" is the last track on side A, and it features a locked groove which allows the closing bit of the song to play continually. After you flip the record, you are treated to "Play in the Rain (Continued)" as the opening track of side B.

I could not find "Play in the Rain," and I have not had time to upload it. So you won't find that transition in this week's Flashback playlist. But if you want to know which Insane tracks are featured, you can read and hear more after the break.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday 80s Flashback for June 14, 2013

[The 'Mats are Back!] -- 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 a few 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.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Friday 80s Flashback for June 7, 2013

[Be Fast, Be Clean, Be Cheap - Redux] -- I missed posting a Flashback last week. And this week really got away from me, too. So, let's flashback to a Flashback I originally posted in June of 2011. In that month, I began sharing tracks from a mixtape I made in the late 80s. We now go to that Flashback in progress ...

Another week has blown by and I barely have time for a proper Flashback. I do, however, have time to share with you the first three tracks from a compilation tape I made in the latter half of the 80s. The name of the compilation, and our theme this week, is "Be Fast, Be Clean, Be Cheap," after the song by Age of Chance. Although that tune lent its name to this week's flashback, it will not make an appearance today. I'm going with the first three songs from side A of the cassette, and "Be Fast" is track number 6. Maybe it will make an appearance in an upcoming flashback. At any rate, I'll bet you are wondering what did make the list. For that, you can read and hear more after the jump.

Look! I still own the cassette!