Firstly, I've decided to add a legal download of the week to the blog, so I can highlight great tracks I come across that deserve wider exposure. If you buy any, it's also a way for me to earn a little money to support the ongoing development of the blog. I'm back on a schedule of regular updates and lots of content which makes me happy. After being on something of a hiatus for various reasons, I'd now like to get back on the radar so to speak so if you have your own blog and want to exchange links just let me know.
I've also been making much more effort lately to contact the bands themselves so if you had a band in the 80s and either want a mention or have some old tapes or vinyl you would like cleaned up, I would love to hear from you.
I'm also going great guns on my other blog, Smash Hits Singles, which is an 80's database I am adding to on a daily basis. I've always wanted to have a space where you can read the reviews of various singles andhave the option to download the track legally, watch the video or maybe even check out a magazine ad or article. That's the goal and by the end of today I should have over 100 singles listed, with more being added daily.
Lastly, I have probably bought over 50 hard to find or unusual UK pop singles in the last few months, so I will be adding these for download as well as going back through a lot of the old singles that need new links. I've got a lot better at cleaning them up for playback now, so I've been enjoying pulling them back out, especially as a lot of my original rips no longer exist.
From time to time, while I'm busy tracking down singles I've never heard of before, I'll see one I remember from the old record shops (Number 19, Woolworths, Boots The Chemist) that I never got around to buying. I'm pretty sure back in 1985 I had the view that if it wasn't in the Top 40 (and therefore mentioned on Top Of The Pops) it couldn't be any good. Glad to admit I was wrong. Anyways bought this recently for a princely 50p and found it to be an enjoyable, if dated, listen. Still haven't seen the movie yet.
I came across "On The Air Tonight" while looking through the top 100 singles archives for 1984 and 1985. I was looking for good songs that didn't break into the Top 40 and this was one of them.
John Eddie - Jungle Boy
I recently picked up John Eddie's 2003 CD Who The Hell Is John Eddie, after liking his cover of Inbetween Days on an Elektra compilation a while ago. When I found he had some 80's singles out there, I had to check them out.
Gee Mr Tracy - Permanent Swoon
Having seen a single on eBay, it proved surprisingly difficult to find any other music blogs with their stuff on. That will have to be rectified!
Tessa Niles And Status Quo - The Safety Dance
Not strictly 80's - I think this was a 1996 concert - but I just love Tessa Niles and I came across this while looking for one of her (rare) solo singles. Tessa was one of the top backing vocalists in the 80's and there is a good summary of her career here. And I don't know if the 'Quo performed at the London Olympics but to me they are the quintessential English pub rock band.
Virna Lindt - Attention Stockholm
I don't know much about Virna Lindt but I've been doing some research lately on the Compact Organisation, an early 80's record label in North London. Apparently this was a Smash Hits single of the week. They also released a record by Cynthia Scott, who later appeared in Aliens as Corporal Dietrich.
Last week I mentioned a couple of artist links on Bandcamp; this week I'm going to list a few bands I have been enjoying on Rhapsody that also have downloads/physical CD releases at CD Baby. I mentioned a few years ago that my Rhapsody subscription was the best ten bucks I spent a month, and lately that's been the case even more than ever. Apparently Rhapsody is now going to be called Napster, but as long as the access to such a wide variety of music remains the same I don't really care either way.
One drawback of both Bandcamp and CD Baby is their search engines - CD Baby makes it difficult to find anything beyond best sellers, editor picks or new releases, and Bandcamp have a variety of tags but you can only filter by one of them at a time.
South London post-punk outfit The Opposition have been making their back catalog available for a while now. Of particular interest to me was the Lost Album - a collection of tracks released in the early 80's. You can buy their downloads direct at http://www.theopposition.fr/boutiquenglish.html
or find the aforementioned Lost Album at CD Baby here for $9.99. The CD is no longer available at the time of writing. Rhapsody has almost all their back catalog available for streaming at the moment. Good stuff!!
If you're into minimal synth style electronica or synthpop, cult NY band Perfect Jewish Couple might be to your liking. They recently released Time Capsule, a collection of carefully remastered 80's tunes. You can purchase the CD or download at CD Baby here or directly from their website at http://www.perfectjewishcouple.com - I think the price is the same either way. Again you can find this one on Rhapsody as well.
One post punk band I heartily recommend is an obscure California one. Back in 1987 The Broken Toys released a 7 track LP called The Cut of Memory. Despite a lot of interest and a good following they never released anything else. Fortunately the band came back together in 2012 for a reunion concert and also released a meticulous remastered version of the album with a host of extra tracks, all of a really high standard. I generally skip through a lot of tracks when I have Rhapsody on shuffle play, but their material is quite excellent. Similar to The Church, who I think they supported once, and they also have a Facebook page. You can find the album at CD Baby here or again Rhapsody has both this and the live reunion concert.
There's plenty more out there so I might make this a regular feature.
One of the more exciting developments I have been seeing lately is the number of lesser known 80's bands now making their catalogue available through Bandcamp, often including extra demos and other curiosities. I'm going to try to make this a more regular feature.
First up, if you enjoyed the Social Security track I posted a little while ago, they have made all their albums, plus extras, available.
I can't remember if I have mentioned Martin Ansell's brilliant 1986 album An Englishman Abroad before, but it's definitely worth a listen. Previously, Martin released two great new wave singles, one under the moniker of The Quarks and then as President President. You can find both those singles, his solo albums, and other demo tracks here: