Friday, May 02, 2014

Friday 80s Flashback for May 2, 2014

[Scared to Get Happy] -- I didn't offer a single Friday 80s Flashback post in April. I'm as surprised as you, but it just kind of happened. I suppose I could claim I took the month off for my birthday. I could also, possibly, claim I needed processing time as I neared the one-year anniversary of my father's passing. However, I'm not sure making either claim retroactively is appropriate. So, why don't we just chalk this up to neglect while you accept both my apology and my promise to do better in the future, OK?

So, for the first Friday of May 2014, we'll delve a little into a wonderful boxed set I received as a gift last Christmas: Scared to Get Happy: Story of Indie Pop 1980-1989. This is a five-disc set that attempts to explore the '80s U.K. indie pop scene. It has 134 songs, selected and compiled by John Reed of Cherry Red, the London-based independent record that has made a habit -- er, rather, a business practice -- of re-releasing out-of-print albums. Now, for today's installment, I'm focusing on the first disc in the set which more or less focuses on the post punk era. Curious as to which tunes got featured this week? Well, read and hear more after the break!

Flashback #1"And as I look up to the sky | And I know down deep inside | There's always something on my mind."

Our first Flashback of the day comes from The Pale Fountains. Formed in Liverpool, England in 1981, they released their first single, the 60s-inspired "(There's Always) Something on My Mind," with the Belgian independent record label Les Disques du Crépuscule (usually translated as "Operation Twilight") one year later. The Pale Fountains later included it on their debut album with Virgin, Pacific Street (1984). If you can imagine Burt Bacharach recording post-punk, then you might have an idea of what The Pale Fountains sounds like. But you don't have to imagine because I have an embedded video of "(There's Always) Something on My Mind" below. And, trust me, it's awesome.   

Flashback #2"Just put on your brave face and be bold."

Next up, we have The Bluebells. Like many 80s bands, The Bluebells were shortlived, forming in 1981 in Scotland, and disbanding just four years later. They released just one album, 1984's Sisters. OK, that's only half true because another album was released in 1992, but that was a collection of unreleased but not-quite-finished tracks. Today, however, we're not interested in any of The Bluebells' album material. No, our second Flashback of the day is a rare 1982 flexidisc recording of “Happy Birthday” which is included on Scared to Get Happy. The Bluebells recorded "Happy Birthday" just after they had demoed material for Postcard Records (but it doesn't look like they got to record much with Postcard as their first EP was recorded with Sire Records and their first full-length LP was done by London Records). Anyway, I chose "Happy Birthday" because, well, I very recently had my 46th birthday in April. Now, The Bluebells' rendition of "Happy Birthday" isn't exactly the happiest birthday tune, but that just makes it fitting for someone, like me, who is observing a birthday so close to the anniversary of his father's death. Besides, The Bluebells trade in that jangly guitar pop I love so much.

Flashback #3"Curiosity killed the cat | Feel its daggers reaching out for me | Feel its daggers reaching out for me."

Everything But The Girl might seem an unlikely choice for a post-punk collection. However, their fusion of pop and electronica actually turns out to be a fine compliment to the other 60s-inspired and jangly songs that appear on Scared to Get Happy. The jazzy ensemble of Everything But The Girl was founded in 1982 by two university students who took their name from a sign placed in the window of a local furniture shop, which claimed "for your bedroom needs, we sell everything but the girl" (clever, no?). The band debuted with a rendition of Cole Porter's "Night and Day" in 1982. The 12 inch single did well on the independent charts, and it included two B-sides, the first of which is our final Flashback of the day: "Feeling Dizzy." 

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!

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