Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sleighbells in the Snowglobe

Something a little different but in keeping with the holiday themes. Snowglobe as a band are impossible to pigeon hole, mixing a variety of instrumentation and unusual song dynamics to create an unusual and entertaining listening experience. I recently found their second album Doing The Distance for a few pennies. Here are three sample cuts:
Snowglobe - Loaded Gun
Snowglobe - Medium
Snowglobe - Aimless Sailor

For more information, check their website here.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ultravox - Set Movements Interview 1984

Here's a treat for all you fellow Ultravox fans out there. It's a short tape I won on eBay which I think was part of the Set Movements Tour Program. It's an interview with the band with instrumental backing and ends with a short piece called the 'Rivets' Soundrack which was commissioned for a Levi's advert. As this piece is a new piece of music from my favorite Ultravox era that I was not even aware of, I have included it as a separate digital file. Enjoy!

Set Movements Interview

'Rivets' Soundtrack

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Vinyl Frontier

Unlike many of my compatriots in the music blogosphere, I can't lay claim to hording a treasure trove of vinyl. I pretty much dumped my (fairly limited) record collection in 1988, as soon as I bought a compact disc player, and never looked back. CD's have always been the focus of my music collection.

Once I started burrowing around for older stuff, I have managed to track down a lot of things digitally through the collections of others and from blogs, and I also gradually acquired a large box of cassettes I was able to digitize without too much trouble.

Gradually, though, I have found that I have continued to look for certain things that existed on vinyl, without success. This led me to conclude that I was going to have to break down and get a turntable and some original vinyl. The original vinyl has started coming, courtesy of eBay, but I had to put the turntable on hold (something to do with making sure Christmas was all about the kids) but I'm sure it will happen.

I'm going home (i.e. England) for New Year and I'm quite excited about the possibility of bringing back some vinyl. I have to say that wading through vinyl in stores here in the US has, so far, been a very frustrating and tedious exercise). Some of the bands/groups I have already zeroed in on are This Other Eden, The Promise, Keep It Dark, Rain And Tears, Freeez, Private Lives, Lemon Hearts, and The Quick.

Naturally, the intention is to post everything I get my hands on, for the benefit of all. I've added a PayPal donation button to the blog, so that if anyone would like to contribute towards either getting the turntable or some of the obscure 80's vinyl I'm planning to make available, they may do so. Or, if you have found the blog useful for other reasons, it's a valid way to say thanks for the effort. I'm expecting a lot of exciting things for 2009!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

MFL Download Charts

1. (8) Robbie Robertson - Christmas Must Be Tonight mp3
2. (-) Red Guitars - Blue Caravan mp3
3. (-) Hurrah! - Sweet Sanity mp3
4. (-) Rouen - Hold Me mp3
5. (-) Impossible Dreamers - August Avenue mp3
6. (2) Smiley Culture - Police Officer mp3
7. (-) Joy - Touch By Touch mp3
8. (-) Bon Voyage - Birthday mp3
9. (-) Neon Neon - Michael Douglas mp3
10. (11) Europeans - Voice On The Telephone mp3
11. (-) Kamera - Borderline mp3
12. (18) Michael Cretu - Your Favourite Toy mp3
13. (-) Midge Ure & Mick Karn - After A Fashion (Extended Mix) mp3
14. (4) The Climb - Touch Me (Heaven) mp3
15. (17) Adrian Belew - Oh Daddy mp3
16. (-) Sal Solo - Heartbeat (Extended Mix) mp3
17. (-) The Odds - We Three Kings mp3
18. (-) Donna Lewis - Christmas Lights mp3
19. (3) Two People - Heaven mp3
20. (1) Kids In The Kitchen - Current Stand

Monday, December 15, 2008

2008: Was That What It Was?

I'm not going to try and produce a list of the best albums of 2008. I'm just not qualified. I've bought a few new albums, but just as many from the 80's and 90's, and with one exception, I've not found myself returning to a single album for repeated listening. There were, however, a number of tracks that caught my ear in 2008 - this is a summary of some of my favorites.

Fischerspooner - The Best Revenge
I just loved this. Released as a single only, no album yet.

Empire of the Sun - Walking on a Dream
Another great electroclash record. Probably my song of the year. As yet, the album
has not been released in the US, but what I've heard I like. Hear it at

Kerli - Walking On Air
This was an iTunes single of the week. Something a little different, a mix of
goth, pop and plain old kookiness. I bought the album almost immediately
but couldn't really comment on the other tracks.
Hear it at

Neon Neon - Michael Douglas
I could have picked several tracks from this solid new wave inspired collaboration.
But this cut is probably my pick. Nice artwork as well.

Duffy - Mercy
Kind of forgotten about now, but I think time will reveal this as an all time great,
great single. Still not sure about the album as a whole.

Kamera - Borderline
Not strictly speaking a 2008 release, but I've not heard anyone else mention the
sublime debut album Resurrection. Great synth rock sound.

Gran Ronde - Wisdom
Another iTunes Single of the Week, and another album that was hard to
track down. This particular cut sounds strangely lived-in, like you just know
you've heard it before. Very Britpop, actually.
Hear it at

Charlotte Sometimes - I Could Just Kill A Man
While it's interesting to imagine a guy singing a chorus like this, with Charlotte's
delivery this perky ode to boy bashing fizzed along with a
delightful mix of playfulness and exasperation.
Hear it at

Matt Costa - Cigarette Eyes
While not as exquisite as the pastoral bliss of 2006's Songs We Sing, the
follow up Unfamiliar Faces produced several sparkling pop tracks, including
this catchy ditty. Hear it at

Here it is, hands down my favorite album released in 2008. This is why I still love music after 25 years, you can buy something for $0.75 because you like the cover and - hey - there's a new love in your life. Yes, it's short, and repeats itself a little, but that's part of the charm, like a good old fashioned album. You can sample four tracks at the MySpace page. The (spoof) alternative cover is cool too. "Birthday" is just one of a shimmering cascade of electro-pop loveliness that hits all the right spots, in the right order. It says something when a perky cover of "Girlfriend In A Coma" is the weakest song on the album. Trust me on this. And thank me in due course, because your ears will be grateful.

MFL Download Charts

1. (1) Kids In The Kitchen - Current Stand mp3
2. (5) Smiley Culture - Police Officer mp3
3. (2) Two People - Heaven mp3
4. (3) The Climb - Touch Me (Heaven) mp3
5. (10) Amazulu - Excitable (Extended Mix) mp3
6. (6) The Tempest - Bluebelle mp3
7. (8) This Final Frame - Eden mp3
8. (12) Robbie Robertson - Christmas Must Be Tonight mp3
9. (7) Leisure Process - Anxiety mp3
10. (4) Freiheit - Keeping The Dream Alive mp3
11. (13) Europeans - Voice On The Telephone mp3
12. (9) Ice Cold In Alice - When The Rain Comes Down mp3
13. (-) Susan Fassbender - Twilight Cafe mp3
14. (11) Still Life - Away From This Town mp3
15. (17) Messengers - Frontiers (Extended Mix) mp3
16. (-) Blue Mercedes - That Beauty Is You mp3
17. (16) Adrian Belew - Oh Daddy mp3
18. (15) Michael Cretu - Your Favourite Toy mp3
19. (-) The Monroes - Sunday People mp3
20. (18) Roland Rat - Rat Rapping (Extended Mix) mp3

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It's Fun To Work At The DMCA

I've just checked my email, and as yet, I'm happy to report I haven't had any complaints sent by the DMCA. Maybe in their extensive research they felt sorry for me, seeing as I consistently spend money on music no-one has paid any attention to, ever. I do feel some sympathy, however, for many of my Blogger friends who have considered quitting the blogging hobby due to apparently arbitrary post deletions. I got to thinking about how somebody goes about doing this, so I came up with a Fountains of Wayne style ditty as a gift to my Blogger friends. I've recorded audio/video, but it still needs some work (auto-tune, anyone?) but in the meantime, here's the lyrics. Merry Christmas.

It's Fun To Work At The DMCA

It’s fun to work at the DMCA
I get paid to surf the web all day, it’s OK
I got bills to pay

I got music by the Rolling Stones
I got that CD by Norah Jones, somewhere
Of course I care

See breaking the law is black and white
I got to protect those copyrights, it’s wrong
Downloading a song

We are poised on the edge of societal breakdown
And theft is the same when there’s no one around
And an album I found by the Lotus Eaters
Could turn all of us into liars and cheaters
They make me so mad these anonymous posters
Trading their files like collectible coasters
They’re probably German and terminal boasters

You can take it up with the RIAA
We’ll sue your granny and your auntie May, today
Yeah we’ll put them away

Now Google owns blogger and YouTube as well
Welcome to a model for corporate hell, my friend
Perhaps it's the end

Thursday, December 11, 2008

[REPOST] Sven Schumacher - Sven Schumacher (2001)

One of the best things about being a total music junkie is that every day you wake up wondering what unexpected musical discoveries might come your way. Yesterday was a case in point. When you live close to an army base, you can be sure that the local thrift stores will have import CD's you're not likely to see many other places, in particular from Germany. That was pretty much the only reason why I picked up the self-titled debut album from Sven Schumacher. I had no idea even what kind of music it might be - blues, hard rock, folk. I figured it might have some resale value, and I kind of liked the classic car on the cover. And the money was going to a good cause, anyway.

I needn't have worried. On closer inspection, the tracklist revealed not only a cover version of Icehouse's classic "Hey Little Girl" but also such promising titles as "Lonely Vampire" and "Youth Was Wild". On first listen I was greeted with the classic europop sound, with buckets of melody, smooth production, lightly accented vocals. It actually reminded me of Casey Stratton or Darren Hayes. Yeah, I liked it.

Apparently poor Sven is largely ignored, even in his home country. His website is nonfunctional, the one or two reviews I could translate were largely unimpressed, and few people seem to have heard of him. And that's too bad.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The New Wave Discography

I've opened up my blog The New Wave Discography for public viewing. The idea of the blog is to produce a comprehensive collection of "new wave" era albums either that I have uploaded or that I have found. It's a no frills site designed for people who are looking for something specific. What I am planning to do is concentrate on including a variety of music here on Mine For Life, particularly individual tracks. My own personal experience is that it is much more rewarding to discover a long lost classic track and then go and find the associated album. Over time, I have collected digital versions of so many albums I have not got around to listening to, which seems to defeat the objective.

With that in mind, feel free to email me links to new wave albums that I can add to the discography. At this time, I'm not trying to include singles and EP's, or artwork, or anything. I'm also happy to make this a collaborative project if any other bloggers out there want to be able to access the site and add content.

I think everyone who loves music from the "new wave" era would appreciate a "one stop shop" for all the out of print material that is out there somewhere.

Albums that are in-print will not be included out of fairness to the artists involved.

Random 80's Tuesday

Jimmy Jimmy - Riverside (7" Single, 1985)
Blue Mercedes - That Beauty Is You (7" Single, 1989)
Susan Fassbender - Twilight Cafe (7" Single, 1981) Legal Download
The Monroes - Sunday People (from Sunday People, 1983)
Boom Boom Room - Here Comes The Man (from Stretch, 1987)

Monday, December 8, 2008

MFL Download Charts

I've always been a sucker for chart rundowns - too bad the latest chart shenanigans with Beyonce, X-Factor, Britney, Mariah et al have no relevance for me. So, just for a bit of fun, and now that my file host can give me download stats, I'm going to try and keep a record of the most popular tracks I have posted. This is starting from a somewhat arbitrary position, but never mind.

1. (-) Kids In The Kitchen - Current Stand mp3
2. (-) Two People - Heaven mp3
3. (-) The Climb - Touch Me (Heaven) mp3
4. (-) Freiheit - Keeping The Dream Alive mp3
5. (-) Smiley Culture - Police Officer mp3
6. (-) The Tempest - Bluebelle mp3
7. (-) Leisure Process - Anxiety mp3
8. (-) This Final Frame - Eden mp3
9. (-) Ice Cold In Alice - When The Rain Comes Down mp3
10. (-) Amazulu - Excitable (Extended Mix) mp3
11. (-) Still Life - Away From This Town mp3
12. (-) Robbie Robertson - Christmas Must Be Tonight mp3
13. (-) Europeans - Voice On The Telephone mp3
14. (-) Mulberry Lane - Keeping The Dream Alive mp3
15. (-) Michael Cretu - Your Favourite Toy mp3
16. (-) Adrian Belew - Oh Daddy mp3
17. (-) Messengers - Frontiers (Extended Mix) mp3
18. (-) Roland Rat - Rat Rapping (Extended Mix) mp3
19. (-) Act - Snobbery and Decay mp3
20. (-) Messengers - Here Come The Heroes mp3

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Blogger's Prayer

(To be rendered in the measured, judicial and slightly bonkers tone of Peter Cook at the Secret Policeman's Ball)

"Oh God our help for ages past, creator of birds and bees and, it must be said, evil ducks, forgive us our trespasses, if any should exist, as we pretend to forgive those we despise and lead us not into temptation but deliver it unto us while I lie down in this field and shall not want a shepherd, or something of that nature.

Let us all pray for the beauty of the earth, and may our blogs be rendered in the image of The Vinyl District, for such is the Kingdom of God. And as we give thanks for the (Holy) Ghost of Electricity, and may blessings shine on our Aged P's and indeed all those in need, or at least in Switzerland.

We remember those pilgrims who travel afar, such as The Vinyl Villain, and we earnestly pray that he might quit flying all over bloody Europe making us jealous and instead render unto Caesar the promised Best 46 Singles Not Including Orange Juice At All, lest the night comes slowly and the music shall cease.

Blessed are the meek, and indeed XOLondon, who gets to sit around all day watching Girls Aloud videos, kisses all the boys and girls (for he is a bit of a tart, apparently*) and, indeed, is charged with the sin of being a real writer who gets published and therefore ask not for whom the bell tolls but give him his daily bread or something.

We remember the parable of the chocolate chip cookie, for the Kingdom of Heaven is warm and nutty, and probably a little unhealthy in truth, and all things including It Should Have Been A Hit shall pass away, but these things we do in remembrance of Mikey.

We recall that in the last days there shall be signs and wonders, and Miss Parker may even post something else before the great tribulation and Wal-Mart shall inherit the earth, and this shall be the number of the beastly Dusty Bin Laden: 3-2-1.

May our knowledge of Sweden be as extensive as Too Much Apple Pie, and our knowledge of the dancefloor be guided as ever by Rene at Retro Wonderland who is too good for us but at least keep him safe from hurricanes and plagues of frogs, and indeed any other Europeans that might fall out of the sky.

And to our other friends, in South Africa, and Canada, and Scotland, and Ireland, and Australia, and New Zealand, and Poland, and France and, um, Minnesota, may they be blessed with health, and happiness, and full hard drives, for ever and ever, Amen."

And in those days it came to pass that a decree went forth asking all men to be silent and not blog about any music, rare or not, past or present, and we had in mind to creep silently into the night, for the virgin blogger was with Rapidshare links, and we had not yet clicked on them. But, lo, an angel appeared to three wise men in a record shop, saying, fear not, for good news of glad tidings I bring. The Red Box reissue is in the shops**, at which they looked up and followed a star and brought gifts to the blogosphere of creative thought, love and appreciation for all forms of art, and a small puppy called CoCo.

* I'm only repeating what I read, and bloggers are known to exaggerate occasionally all the time, so no offense is meant or intended!
** You may recall that last year I lamented that it was never going to come out!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Random 80's Wednesday

Act - Snobbery And Decay (from Laughter, Tears And Rage, 1988) Legal Download
Adrian Belew - Oh Daddy (from Mr. Music Head, 1989) Legal Download
Still Life - Away From This Town (7" Single, 1982)
Prefab Sprout - I Never Play Basketball Now (from Swoon, 1984) Legal Download
Europeans - Voice On The Telephone (from Vocabulary, 1983)