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Thomas Dolby Tag

On March 28, Thomas Dolby breaks his longstanding silence with a 3-song EP, Oceanea, followed by a full album this summer titled A Map of The Floating City. The album is, in a way, a soundtrack to a Facebook video game Dolby is developing called The Floating City (the description leaves one to think Farmville in the Myst).

Dolby actually released a song to the public last year called “Love is a Loaded Gun,” and it can be presumed that song will be included on the new album as well. What will not be on the album according to Dolby’s press release (and the sound of “Love is a Loaded Gun” bears this out), is an overly electronic sound. In fact, said Dolby, “This album does not sound electronic at all. I have zero desire to add to the myriad of machine-based, synth-driven grooves out there. What I do best is write songs, tell stories.”

The new album will feature a host of special guests including Mark Knopfler, Regina Spektor, Eddi Reader, Natalie MacMaster, Bruce Woolley and Imogen Heap.

It’s the last week for the letter D, as we take a look at more tracks that hit the Rock charts but failed to cross over to the Billboard Hot 100.

Dire Straits
“Expresso Love” 1981, #39 (download)
“Solid Rock” 1981, #56 (download)
“Twisting By the Pool” 1983, #12 (download)
“One World” 1985, #8 (download)
“Ride Across the River” 1986, #21 (download)

If you only know Dire Straits from “Money For Nothing” or “Walk of Life” then you’ll be surprised at how different the songs here are.

“Expresso Love” and “Solid Rock” are from their third album, Making Movies. “Expresso Love” is almost a perfect Dire Straits song showcasing Mark Knopfler’s great guitar skills.

“Twisting By the Pool” is the one that non die-hards might not recognize. It’s from a four-song EP they put out called ExtendedancEPlay and sounds different from all their other singles.

Both “One World” and “Ride Across the River” come from their first really commercial record in Brothers in Arms. Both the tracks fit the album very well but outside of listening to the record in full, neither do much for me.

One of the things I just love doing that doesn’t happen much anymore is laying on the couch, in the dark, listening to an album. As I get older, I’m going to bed earlier, which limits how much time I have to listen to albums at night. However, my wife and I just had our first child, so I might be able to get back to it again.

I can hear all of you with children saying “WTF, Steed? You think you’ll be able to do anything ever again with a child in the house?” Well, yes, I do. I’m in a two-level condo with the master bedroom on the second floor and the baby’s room on the first. So on nights where it’s my turn to stay up with the baby, this may be a good chance to pop on an album since my wife will be upstairs with the door shut. I very well could be dreaming here and just haven’t had enough experience yet with this whole fatherhood thing to understand that this just isn’t going to happen, but I hold out hope at least.

Well anyway, the point of this was the music. There’s just something about turning the lights off, shutting your eyes and listening to the right piece of music. One of my favorites is the 1996 self-titled release from Deadsy. It’s a rock album that moves at a snail’s pace, with down-tuned guitars and z-tars that create a creepy mood.

Mostly though I listen to more conventional things, like Sting’s The Soul Cages, Huey Lewis and The News’ Fore! or The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway from Genesis. They all just kind of take me to a nice comfortable place where nothing but the music exits. Most people just pull out the bong to get to a similar place, but I go to Peter Gabriel instead. (Why do I feel like I’ve just done a “music is my anti-drug” commercial?) I need to find that point again and get to it every now and then. Now, only if my boy will give daddy 45 minutes to do so.

It’s a doozy of week here, as there are more rare tracks in this one than in any other post so far. So without further ado, I give you more from the letter D as we continue to trudge through the muck at the bottom of the Billboard Hot 100 chart during the ’80s.

Dolby

Ah, Thomas Dolby. No, please don’t instantly yell “SCIENCE!” Yes, he’s primarily pigeonholed as a one-hit wonder, with “She Blinded Me With Science” still getting played nearly daily on ’80s flashback radio, but that novelty unfortunately blinded (heh) many people to the superior musical and lyrical talent buried in those deep album cuts. Dolby struggled to match that fluke success with more serious work to little avail, finally taking a nearly 15-year break before returning to the concert stage last year. He’s currently tinkering on his first studio album since 1992. So, why should you like Thomas Dolby (and I’m not just telling you why because I came in second place playing Thomas Dolby in the North Ridgeville, Ohio, Spanky’s Nightclub Teen Night Lipsynch Contest in 1984, either!)? The evidence, please …