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Thursday, December 10, 2009

I Guess I'm Just A Little Too Sensitive

It's no secret that I've been neglecting the blog lately. My time has been taken up with my eBay store (Displaced Music) and associated auctions. I've been like a kid in a candy store buying stuff I normally wouldn't look at for this venture. It reminded me that however much I go on about the 80's, that there is still a lot of great music being produced today, if you care to look for it.

My main reason for continuing MFL was the pleasure I got from ripping some obscure old singles. Well, the UK post office has still to deliver 9 singles I purchased nearly three months ago, so I put the vinyl to one side. Then, I get this comment:

No offense, but is there a lot of point in posting something in this kind of quality? It sounds like you found this under a tire somewhere.

I'm thinking that if this comment (for this post) had been by somebody I know who regularly posts pristine quality rips on their hard-earned blog, I would take it in good heart. But it's very dispriting to get this anonymously when the single in question was ripped at 320kbps, cleaned up using software, and trimmed with the same care I have done with all my transfers. So now, I'm not going to bother with it anymore.

I have a new blog associated with my eBay store here. But that's yer lot for MFL. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

[UPDATE: Obviously, I'm still here. I thought about deleting the post but as I got a lot of decent comments from friends, followers and fellow bloggers it's worth keeping. For the record, I'm glad I kept this blog going. I still enjoy it immensely. MFL August 2012]

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Matt Fretton - Dance It Up (1983)

Matt Fretton - Dance It Up (7" Single, 1983)

For a poignant tale, today we turn our attention to Matt Fretton. Until I started collecting rare 80's singles, I had never heard of him. He is probably best known for near-hit "It's So High", he is certainly not well known and I have never seen this single, for example, posted on blogs anywhere else. [UPDATE: The brilliant Simon AKA Torchomatic has posted all his singles, mixes and B-Sides here, here and here.]

I discovered a little more when I found this article from an old NO1 magazine from 1983, in which a bright eyed boy lays out his dreams of stardom. I particularly liked the bit where he mentioned he was signed to produce 8 albums in 4 years, but really expected just to make one a year. Obviously, dreams can come true, but not on this occasion.



A closing thought: I'm not sure which is more startling - the rather desperate for success cover shot for this single (especially compared to the buttoned-down image in the article) or the knowledge that in 1983 this was not considered in the least bit gay.

Can anyone else shed more light on what ever happened to our young friend?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

East of Java - Different World (1985)

East of Java - Different World (7" Single, 1985)

It took a while to track this single down, but it was worth it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Rumors of My Death, etc.

So, I have been on a mental vacation.

I recently had an ultrasound on my heart, which revealed that there is absolutely nothing wrong with it, for the time being. That is good news. I've always had the suspicion that if I had a heart attack, it would probably be in a record store, and that my dying thoughts would probably revolve around which letters of the alphabet I had not yet visited that day. Hey, if you're going to be obsessive, you might as well be honest about it.

More than that, however, I would say that while I have not changed in any discernible physical way over the last few months, mentally I have undergone some major changes. All for the good, I should think. Rather than go into a very long winded discussion, I have called some of these mental concepts "aberrations" (with my tongue in my cheek, you understand) and I shall discuss them as time permits alongside some more usual musical posts.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Record Mirror Singles Review September 7, 1985



Felt - Primitive Painters
Life - Optimism
King Kurt - Road to Rack and Ruin
Erasure - Who Needs Love Like That (Love That Mix)
Glenn Gregory and Claudia Brucken - When Your Heart Runs Out of Time (12" Mix)
Shriekback - Fish Below The Ice
Kaja - Shouldn't Do That
Blancmange - What's The Problem
Womack and Womack - No Relief
Vaughan Toulouse - Cruisin' The Serpentine (12" Mix)
Toyah - World In Action
Midge Ure - If I Was (Extended Mix)
Strawberry Switchblade - Jolene (Extended Mix)

I couldn't find the Great Outdoors single, so if anyone has that, feel free to send it in.

Erasure may not be my favorite band ever, but they are at least top ten. Wonderland is a massively underrated album, and their early singles deserved much better.

Here's a couple of extra B-Sides, while I'm in a generous mood:
Life - Better
Midge Ure - Piano

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Eight Point Five - Mary (1987)



7" Single, released in 1987

Eight Point Five - Mary (A-Side)
Eight Point Five - I Can't Get You Out of My Head (B-Side)

Light A Big Fire - Mr Twilight (1986)

Light A Big Fire - Mr Twilight (7" Single, 1986)

A track from the Surveillance album, this carrys (sic) a more menacing edge than the chugging rock style of the band's last single "Charlene". LABF still have to match the promise of their early Irish releases, but this will suffice for the present.

Stuart Bailie, Record Mirror November 29, 1986

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Welcome Back, Rene!

Just a quick note - I just discovered that Rene's wonderful blog Retro Wonderland is back. Lots of club hits and remixes. Welcome back, Rene....We missed you.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ripples


It was my birthday on Wednesday. I remember that I promised I would write a short story, which I hope you might like.

Maybe it is the start of another chapter in my life, too. We'll see!

Let me know if you like it.

Ripples

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Nostalgia Trip: Oldies Unlimited

Today's post is a tribute of sorts to an 80's pop music institution - at least in Britain. Who else remembers Oldies Unlimited? Here's a reminder:


Not very visual, is it? Anyway, let me set the scene for you. First, I will get my pipe and slippers and mutter something like, "You kids today, you don't know how lucky you are...".

Let's say it's the mid-eighties and you want to hear an Ultravox B-Side. No downloads, no file sharing, you have to actually buy the real record the track was on. So you go down to the local record shop and say, would I be able to order "We Came To Dance" by Ultravox? Then the hippie looking bloke (some things have not changed that much) would pull out a book the size of Cardiff and look for the catalogue number. I think those books still exist - most libraries seem to have hidden racks of them in the reference sections. Then, you would wait. About a week later you would check back and they would look at their order book - all handwritten in biro - and shake their head, nah mate sorry, couldn't get it.

Oldies Unlimited was great precisely because they had all kinds of records, you just had to go through the whole mail-order experience. This starts with them sending you a booklet with a list of their records, which they would send every month or so. When you ordered records, you had to put some extras down so you never knew exactly what you were going to get (Hey, wasn't that also how you ordered Panini stickers for your albums? I'd forgotten about the whole "provide alternatives" approach). No scans, no digital photos, just writing to some place called Telford which could have been the moon for all I knew. No credit card - just send a check or a postal order. This was while I was still at school, so placing an order was a rare treat.

On one occasion I took a chance and bought a box of 100 singles for about ten pounds, it was one of those grab-bag deals. When they came, of course they were all rubbish and I'd never heard of any of them. The only one I remember at all was "I Never Go Out In The Rain" by High Society. For some reason I've always had a soft spot for tunes that hark back to Vaudeville and the roaring twenties.

High Society - I Never Go Out In The Rain (7" Single, 1980)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Graystoke - Up On The Roof (1988)

Graystoke - Up On The Roof (1988)

I actually preferred the B-Side to this one, so here it is:

Graystoke - Perfect Is The Girl

Local Hero - With A Woman Like You (1989)

Search Party - All Around The World (1983)

Search Party - All Around The World (7" Single, 1983)

Another "makin' bacon" production, I'm afraid, but this one is rarer than rare. An interesting short-lived group, associated with New Musik and Tony Mansfield, more information is here.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Makin' Bacon


As a busy family man, I know there are others out there who will appreciate what I mean when I mention that although I love music to bits, there are very rarely times that I get to don a pair of headphones and just listen to something. Even when I'm ripping vinyl and working with those tracks, I'm always being interrupted and I'm usually listening to the sounds through some decent but obviously limited computer speakers.

I mention this in passing because on a whim I decided to compare a 12" Single track which I had just ripped at the highest rate possible (320kbps) to the same track I previously downloaded from somewhere which was at 192kbps. It's fair to say I've been obsessed lately with trying to replace smaller bit rate music files (128kbps is so 2001!) with the best I can either locate or produce myself. I naively expected my rip to sound obviously better, and it didn't. To be perfectly honest, it crackled and spat like sunday morning bacon.

So I listened to some other rips I have done through headphones, and there are pops and clicks all over the place. I still have a lot to learn, obviously. Not all of them were that bad, I hasten to add. Much also depends on the state of the vinyl before I get my hands on it, I guess. Anyways, if you find some pops and clicks on rips you find here, I apologize in advance. I've just got my hands on a few great new singles so I'll be posting those this week.

Monday, September 14, 2009

MFL Radio

For no particular reason, I thought I would share a few different tracks today.

The Silencers - The Art of Self Deception
(from Dance to the Holy Man, 1991)

The Rave-Ups - If It Was (A Matter of Mind)
(from Chance, 1990)

Eleanor McEvoy - A Glass Unkissed
(from What's Following Me, 1996)

Waves On Waves - Better Car
(from Waves On Waves, 2007)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Back In The Neighbourhood


Last year, when MFL turned one, I reported that my most popular album download was Johnny Logan's 1987 album Hold Me Now. A year later, I have to report that Johnny retains the top spot, with an average of nearly one new download every day. I think he may want to re-release this one. However, his is not the most popular post in terms of comments. Moving from Ireland to Scotland, that distinction belongs to Scottish songbirds His Latest Flame who have consistently received more comments than anyone else, the post being here and anyone looking for the album In The Neighbourhood may like to know I have now uploaded the album at 320kbps to my rapidshare account following many requests to make it available again.

Clearly the girls are remembered with a lot of fondness, and while I don't have a lot more material by them, here's an additional B-Side:

His Latest Flame - Come On, Come On

The Bats - The Guilty Office (2009)


For my second post on the subject of randomness in my music collection, let me present The Guilty Office, by New Zealand band The Bats.

Every other weekend or so I take my stepson's daughter Shyanna, who is now 19 months old, back to her home in Lebanon, Tennessee. Because my route takes me through Nashville, I've got into the habit of taking her with me to two music and book stores in Nashville I like to check out on a regular basis - McKays and The Great Escape's outlet store.

Recently, The Great Escape has been heavily advertising a large stock of CD's on sale for a dollar each. Apparently the recession and online downloads has exploded their inventory. I'm constantly picking up bargains - last time I found Swimmer by The Big Dish on CD and on this trip I also found Ish by 1927, another 80's rarity.

Like most 19 month babies, Shyanna likes to help herself to things she can see at her eye level as I wheel her stroller around (You may have gathered here folks that I'm something of a renaissance man). She will pull a book of the shelf, or make a grab at a record. Usually I keep her out of the way of things in case of damage, but when it comes to dollar CD's I figure she needs to have some fun too. I'll let her grab one or two, which usually end up falling on the floor after she has looked at them for a while. On this last trip I noticed she had been holding on to one in particular that caught my eye, a very recent release by New Zealand indie pop darlings The Bats. I liked the cover, and added it to my small pile. I bought five albums altogether, including this one.

The Guilty Office is a great little record, which I think will continue to grow on me. As it's so new, I'm not going to post rips here. You can download a free track from Amazon if you are in the US. Also, Parasol Records has two mp3's available so here are the links:

The Bats - Countersign
The Bats - Castle Lights

If you are a fan of The Go-Betweens (and who isn't?) then you just have to check out probably my favourite track "Later On That Night" which is run a close second by the appropriately subdued title track, "The Guilty Office". But honestly, it's all good.

We'll have to see what treasure Shyanna might uncover next time. Nice one, kid!

Official Homepage

Monday, September 7, 2009

Hitlist - Good Evening Yugoslavia (1986)



Hitlist was a short-lived band with the following members: John Hoare (Guitars, Vocals), Horace Hornblower (Saxes, Clarinet), Dave McIntosh (Drums, Percussion), Gordon Riddell (Vocals, Guitar, Percussion), Duv Walker (Keyboards) and Neil Waterman (Vocals, Guitar). Their most well-known track was the dancefloor orientated "Into The Fire" which was released in 1985 on Virgin Records. The full length album Good Evening Yugoslavia followed in 1986. There was one more single released from the album, "OK For You", but that was all.

Hitlist - Good Evening Yugoslavia (1986)
  1. Showbiz
  2. Party Lights
  3. Sunday Is For Sleeping
  4. Mr Mercenary
  5. Into The Fire
  6. Good Intentions
  7. Anticipation
  8. Nothing To Lose
  9. OK For You
  10. Further On
Download

More trivia: apparently the single "Into The Fire" was released on the same week as the Bradford fire disaster and Virgin pulled the single.

Gordon Riddell sadly died a few years ago at the age of 46.

Additional tracks on the singles were "Total Isolation" and "High Treason".

Friday, September 4, 2009

Underworld - Change The Weather (1989)

Underworld - Change The Weather (from the album Change The Weather, 1989)

I often pick up CD's from odd places that I think might be rare or unusual, even if I don't necessarily plan on keeping the album in my collection. An example this week was when I bought the Underworld album Change The Weather for three bucks. Although not particularly valuable, it is fairly hard to find here in the US. I was familiar with Underworld in the 90's, of course, but I was surprised to discover just how melodic and accessible this earlier album is, from beginning to end. The title track is also the lead track, and sets the tone nicely.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Link-O-Rama

The end of August is always a weird time for me. I split with my first wife over the August bank holiday weekend a few years back and then had my divorce finalized a year later almost to the day. This was also at the time when Princess Diana died and everyone was just in a state of shock anyway.

But time moves on, and I was very happy to realize that the end of August is also my blog anniversary and I can celebrate two years of holding court in cyberspace with nothing but a pair of Snoopy PJ's and a box of compact discs records.

Even though I moan and grumble a bit, I really do appreciate the long term bloggers I have made friends with over the last two years. Speaking of which, and PJ's as well, I was a bit stunned to notice that I have never bothered to link back to one of my longest serving contributors, the weirdly wonderful Barely Awake In Frog Pyjamas, so I am happy to correct that today. I also get to post a picture of a frog:

Without a doubt, that is the most self-satisfied amphibian I have ever seen. Perhaps a Princess was coming down the path at the time?

You would think with my vast store of musical knowledge I could come up with something better than this, but no, I am not going to post the-oh-so-obvious Peter Gabriel here.

Ed Kilbourne - Frog Kissing

The Divine Comedy - The Frog Princess

Also want to mention two other favorites - there's a lot of good stuff at Diggin' In The Vault right now and I'd also recommend RetroUniverse for a decent stroll down memory lane.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It's All Geek To Me

After a flurry of posts with little actual written content, I decided it was time for a round up of things going on in MFL country. Fasten your seat belt.

I'm not quite sure why I have such a soft spot for the RAH Band. I mean, most of their singles mine pretty much the same sonic territory, they all sound a bit dated, and of course there is really no image to speak of. Maybe that's the point. The "band" is no more than the images on their stylized record covers and inoffensive electrpop fluff. Having said that, I was curiously proud to notice that several of the earlier albums are now included on iTunes and Amazon MP3, including the classic Mystery. I'll have to put up one of those Amazon widget-e-bob thingies. Anyway, the other comment I wanted to make was that while looking for info on A Bigger Splash, a band I posted about recently, I discovered a French band also called A Bigger Splash, who have recorded a delightful downtempo version of "Clouds Across The Moon", a RAH Band classic. I'm not going to post it, because everyone can hear it at Myspace here and then buy it yourselves here if you so choose. How do I know they're French? Well, there's the album cover for one thing... (NSFW, kiddies!!!)

Yeah, no wonder I didn't see it at Wal-Mart.

So, what else is new. Well, one thing that annoys me about living stateside is that I don't have a clue about British telly. I'm still watching League of Gentlemen and Jonathan Creek reruns from ten years ago. I recently discovered That Mitchell And Webb Look, which I thought was pretty funny. The job interview sketch has me in stitches every time.

Remember that (fairly lame) movie Phenomenon with John Travolta? The one where he turns into a genius because he has cancer or some (yeah okay that's enough "written content" - Ed. Sniiiiiiiip)

Naive - Carry On (1985)

Naive - Carry On (12" Single, 1985)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

English Evenings - After Dark (1985)



English Evenings - After Dark (1985)
  1. Tear You Down
  2. Touch
  3. I Will Return
  4. Shoot Shoot
  5. I Still Love You
  6. English Evenings
  7. Winter Feelings
  8. What's The Matter With Helen
  9. Keep It To Myself
  10. Circle Around Your Number
Download

Personnel:
Lee Walsh (Vocals)
Graham Lee (Everything Else)

The Maisonettes - Heartache Avenue (1983)

The Maisonettes - Heartache Avenue (from Maisonettes For Sale, 1983)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Bigger Splash - I Don't Believe A Word (1984)


7" Single, released in 1984

A Bigger Splash - I Don't Believe A Word (A-Side)
A Bigger Splash - Silence (B-Side)

Since I posted this single a couple of years ago, there's been a number of insightful comments.  I'm always extremely flattered when members of the group stop by and add their thoughts, so thanks are due to Ray Edwards and Eddi Reader, who sang backing vocals. Apparently the band were fabulous live.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lemon Hearts - Shake Yourself (1987)


A Change Is Gonna Come

I've been a bit bored with this blog recently. Mainly this has to do with pressures of work and other things, such as my impending 40th birthday and some personal soul-searching.

I considered quitting the blog altogether but instead I think I am going to change the format slightly, not that I think anyone would care too much one way or the other.

I'm doing away with "Random 80's Wednesday" and instead I am going to try and post a different single every day. At the weekends I will post an album or two, honor any requests, and whine about whatever I feel like.

I have also decided to sell much of my music collection. If you are interested, you can find these items on eBay, my store name is Displaced Music.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Random 80's Wednesday


The Toy Shop - Attack Decade (7" Single, 1983)
Screen 3 - Hearts In Limbo (7" Single, 1982)
Keep It Dark - Dreamer (from 1st Down And Ten, 1986)
French Revolution - This Is Not The End (from Fantasia, 1988)
The Producers - Table For One (from Run For Your Life, 1985)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Lightning Seeds - Sweet Dreams (1990)

I knew that the singles released from The Lightning Seeds debut CD Cloudcuckooland included the classic single "Pure" and the decent follow up "All I Want". With a bit of prodding I might have remembered that "Joy" was the other single release. Which made my discovery of this promotional single for "Sweet Dreams" just a little more intriguing. I couldn't say I remembered this track at all from the album - but then again I haven't heard the LP itself in years. So it was kind of a nice surprise. Plus, the two extra tracks - which found their way on to the "Sense" single release a couple of years later - are both rewarding in themselves. So here they all are.
  1. Sweet Dreams
  2. Hang On To A Dream
  3. Flaming Sword
Download

Friday, July 31, 2009

Heyday - Come And Go



It was a pleasure to hear from Matt Davis recently, who was the songwriter behind Heyday, who released one gorgeous single, "Come And Go" in 1986. At his request, here are the tracks from the single.

Heyday - Come And Go
Heyday - This Change of Yours

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Random 80's Wednesday



Fire Next Time - Stay With Me Now (7" Single, 1988)
Ice Cold In Alice - Causing A Commotion (7" Single, 1988)
Black - Have It Your Own Way (7" Single, 1987)
John Adams - Strip This Heart (from Strong, 1987)
The Shine - Shadow Dancing (7" Single, 1985)

Commentary:
I wasn't that thrilled with the last Fire Next Time single I bought, but this one is an absolute belter of a single. I'm still looking for the album, North To South, if anyone has it.

"Causing A Commotion" was, I think, the first single from Ice Cold In Alice, and typical of their sound.

I've been a Black fan for a long time, and while the B-Side "Have It Your Own Way" is hardly his best track, I've been looking for it for a while so I thought I'd share the booty. I'm still missing "My Lover", which was an extra track on the 12" version. Does anyone have this?

I could be wrong but I think that John Adams was previously the lead singer for Private Lives in the UK. This solo effort may have been a USA only release. The production of the track is very reminiscent to me of Donna Allen's "Serious" from the same year, which I would classify as a guilty pleasure of mine.

I don't know anything at all about The Shine.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Roaring Boys - Roaring Boys (1985)

[REQUESTED BY MCDOC]


"The specter of Roxy Music haunts "House of Stone," the most well-crafted song on Roaring Boys' self-titled debut album; unfortunately, the rest of the LP is a ghost town. With its bed of lush synthesizers, soothing horns, and romantic vocals, "House of Stone" could have been an apt sequel to Roxy Music's "Avalon." However, "House of Stone" is a burst of inspiration that must have left the band creatively drained, or perhaps they were rushed into the recording studio before they were able to compose equally memorable songs. Roaring Boys is an album without structure; the group keeps shifting gears, infatuated with the stylish new romantic pop of Roxy Music and Icehouse on some tracks and then trying to woo rock radio on others. "Wilder for You" and "Call the Tune" sound like generic mainstream rock from their unimaginative titles alone, while "Easier Said Than Done" is a weak attempt at a Joe Jackson knockoff. On the other hand, "Strange Girl" and "Persuasion" actually resemble the band that sang "House of Stone." On "Persuasion," vocalist Paul Mitchell sings beautifully over a piano without any hard rock guitars or studio slickness. The subtle arrangement suits him and the group. Roaring Boys are at their best when they're not trying to roar." (All Music Guide)

Roaring Boys - Roaring Boys (1985)
  1. Every Second of the Day
  2. House of Stone
  3. Easier Said Than Done
  4. Strange Girl
  5. Dancing In Your Sleep
  6. How
  7. All The Time In The World
  8. Wilder For You
  9. Again and Again
  10. Persuasion
  11. Call The Tune
Download

Personnel:
Paul Mitchell
Chris Jones
Stefan Osadzinski
Tim May
Neill MacColl
Dave Larcombe