All posts tagged: Devo

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DVD REVIEW: Devo, “The Men Who Make The Music”

Do I REALLY need to spell out the importance of Akron, Ohio’s finest, the one and only DEVO?  Forget it; I won’t.  You should know.  And if you don’t, there’s a lot you can learn on your own.  This band – this art collective – this group of revolutionaries – burst on to the music scene in 1978 and has never left the American consciousness (they sure haven’t left mine).  From the moment I saw them on Saturday Night Live for their now-legendary debut, I was immediately hooked.  The impression Devo left, not just musically, but visually left a mark on many, many of us.  And while, sadly, two of the original Spud Boys are now gone (drummer Alan Myers and guitarist/keyboardist Bob Casale (Bob 2)), this video compilation is a wonderful reminder of what the band created. This disc contains two items – The Men Who Make The Music, which is the classic Devo compilation, comprised of bits from “The Truth About Deevolution”, their earliest promotional clips (the pre-cursor to “videos”) and early live …

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10 Most Awesome 80’s New Wave Comebacks Ever

Ready for an excellent adventure? Fire up the Delorean, pad your shoulders, grab a turbo dog and bag of corn nuts, we’re about to bend the polyester fabric of space and time. Can music sound totally retro and modern at the same time? Let’s find out. Sadly, many of the best new wave acts of the 80’s fell victim to the same old song and safety dance: Score some hits, disappear for a while and then cash in on the nostalgia circuit playing weathered versions of the classics to an audience of beer guts, soccer moms and bewildered kids. Call it a miracle, but New Wave is currently experiencing a Second Wave — three decades since the launch of MTV and the height of Richard Blade, these 11 iconic acts are currently cranking out some of the best music of their careers. While the Human League (Credo), David Bowie (The Next Day) and Ultravox (Brilliant) missed it by “thaaaaat much”, these bands magically returned to form in the 2000’s: #1. Duran Duran Key Personnel: Simon …

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Punk: A Braindump

You know the rest of the Twenty-Teens will be a hard slog when even the quality of our rebellion is mediocre. Look at the so-called “rebels” in today’s pop culture and what you really see are an endless stream of media frenemies, declaring their disdain for any number of departments while alternately being the exemplars of the same. In every sense, they ridicule the “cool kids” while concurrently emulating them…all “beef” and no balls, some might say. Not that this is such a new occurrence — human beings in general have gotten their “hate on” mostly out of envy, acted out as a duplication of the subject of note, not a departure from it. In terms of being content providers, previous generations at least tried to do it with some style. Their raised middle fingers weren’t crossed. Their anger wasn’t supposed to be empowerment, it was supposed to be anger. In the 1970s, in both the U.S. and the U.K. there was plenty to be angry about. Over there, the very real sense of class …

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PopSmarts: This Summer I Hear the Drumming

Last week saw the anniversary of one of the most horrific events in American history, the shootings of four unarmed college students by National Guardsmen on the campus of Ohio’s Kent State University. Four casualties may not sound like much of a body count, in a world where collapsing factories kill 900 workers and suicide bombers can wreak havoc in crowded public spaces. Hell, as I write this article, at least 35 people are dead in India after their bus crashed through a guard rail and into a gorge along the Beas River. Thirty-five lives snuffed out, and each of them precious; 35 people, each of whom had hopes and dreams for the future, hopes just as valid as those of Sandy Scheur, or Allison Krause, or Jeff Miller, or Bill Schroeder. But the Kent State massacre was a uniquely traumatizing incident in the social history of the United States. Three days of ugly antiwar demonstrations had escalated into full-scale rioting, with wholesale property damage culminating the torching of the University’s ROTC building. Some student …

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10 Movies…Directed By Rock and Pop Stars (To Prepare You for Rob Zombie’s ‘The Lords of Salem’)

Lots of musicians decide they are famous and attractive enough to act, but it takes a special kind of hubris to take a break from making music to direct a movie. Sometimes it works out, as with the fruitful horror filmmaking career of Rob Zombie, whose The Lords of Salem comes out this week. Here are some others who gave it a shot. The Education of Charlie Banks The guy who got an Oscar nomination for The Social Network was once directed by Fred Durst, the guy who wrote the line “gimme somethin’ to break / how ‘bout your fuckin’ face.” But he does know what it’s like to be a violent thug, so there’s that. Yentl Streisand has one of the greatest voices ever, and she’s a good actress, too. And then there’s this literal vanity project, in which the 41-year-old Streisand directs her own performance as a teenager, who disguises herself as a boy to attend a yeshiva. Falling From Grace Ol’ John Cougar made himself up a movie-film real good like, with …

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Like, Omigod! Digging Through the ’80s Pop Culture Box, Part 1

Welcome to OMG!, our brand-new roundtable series, where a gathering of your favorite Popdose writers (and, um, Jack Feerick) come together to spout ill-considered opinions about our pop-music heritage! When the long-running Digging For Gold wrapped up, bringing us to the end of Time-Life Music’s AM Gold series of compilations, we spent some time casting about for a new group project. There are many excellent music anthology collections we could have chosen, and the Popdose staff argued the merits of them back and forth in lively email exchanges. The AM Gold series had brought us up to 1979, and we knew that we wanted to continue to look at pop history going chronologically forward. And of all the tasteful, thematically-selected, painstakingly-curated collections of 1980s pop available on the market, we selected… none of them; we decided to go with the Rhino Records compilation Like, Omigod! The ’80s Pop Culture Box (Totally), instead. One of the joys (?) of AM Gold was trying to second-guess the programmers who put the set together. To say that not …

Popdose 2010: Dw. Dunphy’s Top Albums

2010 was a difficult year for music, despite there being so much of it to choose from. Some high profile albums made no mark on me, while some that crept in under doorway became obsessions. There were albums from other years that arrived and had the same effect, but for the purposes of this rundown, I have focused solely on releases from the calendar year 2010. So here we go! 10. TIE – How I Got Over – The Roots: It’s become a mantra around here – The Roots can do anything they want. On this album, they prove it once again. Something for Everybody – Devo: All Devo had to do was sound like themselves without flaccidly mimicking their older material. Amazingly, they pulled it off. 9. We’re Here Because We’re Here – Anathema: It doesn’t matter that they’re light years away from their black metal roots. Anathema’s return brings beauty, guitar firepower, positive energy and an incredible track like “Dreaming Light” to an already transformative discography. 8. Heaven Is Whenever – The Hold …

Mix Six: “Music Festivals”

DOWNLOAD THE FULL MIX HERE Over the weekend, my iPhone was blowing up with Twitter updates about the Outside Lands festival in San Francisco.  I’ve never been, but from numerous tweets I was getting from various people I follow, it sounded like it was a great close out to summer.  In San Francisco, summer comes twice a year for a couple of weeks (October and April), so to use of the term “summer” is a misnomer since the weather in The City is often cold, foggy and windy.  But a little thing called weather doesn’t get in the way of people having a good time, and so it was the case with the number of music festivals around the country this year. Sure, the weather in S.F. was cold, but in other parts of the U.S., it was a swampy cocktail of humidity, blazing sun, and dehydration. Long live rock, eh? Anyway, this week’s mix tries (in a small way) to capture the action on the main stage and on the smaller stages at music …

The Friday Mixtape: 5/15/09

I said I wouldn’t do it. I was called out, however, and if there’s one thing I’m not, that’s a punk. All my neon green hair fell out a long time ago. —Dw. Ben Lee – Catch My Disease from Awake Is the New Sleep (2005) Bleu – Could Be Worse from Redhead (2003) Calexico – Ballad of Cable Hogue from Hot Rail (2000) Devo – Devo Has Feelings Too from Smooth Noodle Maps (1990) Fischerspooner – Never Win from Odyssey (2005) Jethro Tull – Wond’ring Aloud from Aqualung (1971) Kino – Holding On from Picture (2005) Otis Redding – My Girl from Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul (1965) Robert Vaughn & the Shadows – Love Came Falling from Love and War (1985) RPWL featuring Ray Wilson – Roses from Live: Start the Fire (2005) Sean Watkins – Summer’s Coming from Blinders On (2006) Spoon – The Fitted Shirt from Girls Can Tell (2001) Super Furry Animals – Lazer Beam from Love Kraft (2005) Tammy Faye Bakker – The Ballad of Jim and Tammy …

Lost in the ’80s: Devo, “That’s Good”

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  How can one of Devo’s most famous songs outside of “Whip It” be Lost in the ’80s?  How can a song whose video was in heavy rotation back in the day be considered a lost classic? Because I write this column and I said so, that’s why. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about this classic single.  While long-time Devotees may have blanched at the abandonment of guitars and real drums, synthpop fans rejoiced as the sequencers and squiggly keys joined forces with the programmed Linn drum in this ode to stuff that’s, well, good.  Reaction to Oh No, It’s Devo (the album from which it was pulled) was nearly universally thumbs-down.  The first single, “Peek-a-boo,” flopped, despite an inventive video that MTV played into the ground (after some light censorship of animated french fries entering donuts, of course).  Devo was struggling with their label Warner Brothers over promotion, but the label did pony up for another single and a video to promote it. They even …

SXSW ’09: Q and Devo

I’m writing to you from the press center at SXSW. I have just come from a two hour, stirring keynote speech by the great Quincy Jones. Part biography, part music history, part fatherly advice, part creative inspiration, and yes, a bit of rambling, it was a wholly extraordinary experience to even be in the same room as this giant who has been a part of so much musical history. He made it clear that at 76 years old, he’s not done yet. At the end of the speech, Q introduced his newest proteges. Teenage singer Bianca Ryan performed an impressive version of “God Bless the Child,” and then young Cuban pianist Alfredo Rodriguez just tore the house down. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone play the instrument better in a jazz setting. He’s a remarkable talent, and you’ll be hearing from both of these people. When I moved over to the press room, I had the good fortune to stumble into a press conference being given by the immortal band Devo. As I write …

Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’80s — 2008 Recap

Today marks the final post of 2008 for Bottom Feeders. So instead of starting the letter G and then going on break, let’s take a look back at the first 33 weeks of the series, with what I believe are the ten best, the ten worst, and the ten rarest songs in the series up to this point. The Best 10. Jimmy Buffett, “It’s My Job” (download) 9. Bee Gees, “You Win Again” (download) 8. Crosby, Stills & Nash, “War Games” (download) 7. The Time, “The Oak Tree” (download) 6. The Cult, “Fire Woman” (download) 5. Dragon, “Rain” (download) 4. Devo, “Theme From Doctor Detroit” (download) 3. Jon Astley, “Jane’s Getting Serious” (download) 2. Joan Armatrading, “Drop the Pilot” (download) 1. The Cure, “Lullaby” (download) I’ve listened to every song I own in my collection — every track to hit the Hot 100, thousands of tracks on the R&B and dance charts, and album after album, but listening to all of these songs pretty thoroughly while writing them up for Bottom Feeders has opened my …

Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’80s, Part 24

A few weeks ago I laughed at someone’s musical taste. I feel kind of bad about it. See, a buddy of mine asked me if I had heard the new Staind CD yet, with the qualification that “You might like it. They’ve really grown up as a band.” I totally busted out laughing at that notion. Like, right in his face, full-blown laughter. At the time all that was crossing my mind was “He knows what I listen to — why would he think I’d like this?” and “They’ve ‘grown up’?” But when I really thought about it, who am I to judge what people enjoy? (Except when it comes to Nickelback. There is really no excuse for that.) At least half of the songs you’re about to see below are total shit, yet if my iPod shuffles to any of them, I’ll listen straight through. I’ll listen to a Cover Girls song, followed by Mike Patton making ungodly noises in Fantomas. My taste in music is just as shitty if not shittier than most …

Dw. Dunphy On… Cover Songs — Why and Why Not

Some people are just flat-out smart-asses. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to be at times, mind you, but a good smart-ass pulls it off with a modicum of grace and might give you a chuckle for it. In the music world, there are relatively few of the latter. Instead of a wink and a nod, they just about knock you unconscious and then ask if “you saw that.” You can tell one from the other by their choices in the realm of cover songs. A word of note to anyone who is not a music nerd accidentally finding themselves at this site: a cover song is when an artist records another artist’s song, hence covering it. The term ‘remake’ fits as well. The term ‘smart-ass’, at least relative to this article, refers to those who decide to go all hipster and record something that bears no relevance, charm or wit toward their own sensibility. I’m thinking of Madonna’s cover of “American Pie” or that godawful A Perfect Circle CD where the songs weren’t just …

The Year in Rock: 1978

Although released in late 1977, the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack would be impossible to ignore for much of 1978, with the Bee Gees’ “Night Fever” and “Stayin’ Alive,” as well as Yvonne Elliman’s “If I Can’t Have You,” all reaching #1. At several points during the first half of ’78, the soundtrack album was selling over 1 million units a week. Bee Gees – Stayin’ Alive Bee Gees – Night Fever (w/ More Than a Woman)

Mix Six: “Up From the Underground”

Hey, Popsters! You’re back for more weekly mixing fun, eh? Good. I’m glad you’re here, and I hope this week’s mix starts to spark some discussion about when a particular genre of music surfaced from the underground and became mainstreamed. You’ll probably quibble with my choices, but that’s okay, because it’s tough to find one song that basically says, “This is the definitive point where, say, hard rock, grunge, ’90s bubblegum pop, new wave, or disco started.” So what I’ve assembled for your enjoyment is a collection of songs that, for me, signaled that a musical genre had come up from the underground to become part of the mainstream.