All posts tagged: new wave

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BOOK REVIEW: “Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists & Songs That Defined The 1980’s” by Lori Majewski & Jonathan Bernstein

  This book is a proverbial “Top Of The Pops” greatest hits – most of which can be looked upon with a warm nostalgic smile as “’80’s Top 40” pop but not “new wave”.  Calling it “new wave”  is very misleading.  Many of the bands who are in this 300-plus page volume made their entry into the music world via the immediate post-punk era or flirted with punk-era bands, but this is all pop.  In many ways, what makes it a pleasant read are the authors’ commentaries, as it’s their memories and deep appreciation of these songs and bands that are the driving motivators of this book. Some of these bands – such as Devo – started off with more subversive ideas and intentions – but most became fleeting “pop stars” (to use the U.K. term) or popular for a moment. A lot of one-hit wonders, which is, in truth, what this is when you look at their careers in the United States:  Spandau Ballet (who I genuinely like), ABC, Kajagoogoo.  None of these bands …

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Like, Omigod! Digging Through the ’80s Pop Culture Box, Part 10

We’re letting the music do the talking for the most part, this week — because this stretch of Disc Three is all killer, no filler! Or, as panelist Mike Heyliger put it, “If I was making a list of my 100 or so favorite songs of the ’80s (ooh, there’s an idea,) then three of this week’s five tracks would be on it.” #6, Missing Persons, “Words” (1982) Peaked at #42 US, though it was a Top Ten hit in Australia. Dw. Dunphy – I like the energy of the song and I think Dale Bozzio does a pretty good singing job here, but her Lene Lovich-isms get on my nerves after awhile. I lump this song in with “Jukebox (Don’t Put Another Dime)” by The Flirts, and have no sensible reason for why that should be. Ted Asregadoo – Terry Bozzio’s drumming talents were surprisingly muted on “Words” and other songs by Missing Persons. Perhaps it was the complexity of working with Frank Zappa that motivated the Terry and Dale to move toward a …

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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 …

Mix Six: “1981 (Part Two)”

DOWNLOAD THE FULL MIX HERE Last week we hung out with the rocker crowd from 1981, and this week it’s time to see what the new wave kids were into.  If you recall, I had the fortune — or misfortune — of attending three high schools in 1981, and for the most part, the music was the standard FM AOR rock that, at the time, was still at its apex.  However, at “School Three” I was also introduced to music that certainly had elements of rock and punk but was fused in such a way that it was described as “new wave.”  The sounds were a quirky kind of pop, the styles more retro and futuristic, and the dance was, well, pretty standardized (See Molly Ringwald, The Breakfast Club, 1984, Scene 26).  I certainly hopped on the new wave bandwagon, but I didn’t forget or jettison my hard rock roots.  I figured at that time you didn’t have to choose your gang, so for me new wave was just one more style of music to …

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Wall of Voodoo: An Appreciation

The pop music landscape is littered with bands whose time in the limelight was cruelly short. And let’s be honest, most of them didn’t even deserve the little success they had. Wall of Voodoo, however, is not one of those groups. Yes, I’m talking about that “Mexican Radio” band. Wall of Voodoo released just six records (four studio LPs, one live LP, and one EP), five of which are currently out of print. And while not every track they released is essential, they have been unfairly written off as one-hit wonders. In truth, the band has much more to offer, as we shall discover here. But first, a bit of history. The band known as Wall of Voodoo took root in Los Angeles in 1977, where it began as a partnership between synth player/vocalist/composer Stan Ridgway and guitarist Marc Moreland. The duo formed a short-lived music production business called Acme Soundtracks, which specialized in off-kilter scores for films that were about as far away from John Williams as you could get. Ridgway’s love of bebop …

Future Retro: Blue Angel with Cyndi Lauper

The early musical output of popular artists is the stuff of semi-legend and fan obsession — Aretha Franklin’s Columbia recordings, Little Richard the blues singer, Madonna’s New York demos, and … Cyndi Lauper, retro chick? BLUE ANGEL GETS ITS WINGS Formed in 1977, Blue Angel featured John Turi on keyboards and saxophone, Arthur Neilson on guitar, Lee Brovitz on bass guitar, Johnny Morelli on drums and a certain Cynthia Ann Lauper throwing down major lead vocals. Bringing a full-on retro-rockabilly/girl-group vibe, Blue Angel were wrapped in a rapturous love for well-crafted early ’60s pop and rock. Groups with a similar aesthetic, such as some early B-52’s, also come to mind. Blue Angel, however, were much more easily appreciated than many other groups of their kind — making it all the more baffling that they were not nearly as successful as their counterparts. Where were the pop, new wave, and rock fans of the time who were screaming for something new and fresh? Cyndi and bandmate John Turi wrote much of the group’s material. True to …