Tag Archives: New Wave

Hidden 80′s Gems – Part 7 1987

Robbie Robertson
Who dosent like dipping into those studio album with an dream casting of artists, and that is what we got with Robbie Robertson’s self titled solo album, from 1987. I had no problems chosing this album as my 1987 gem, it’s a perfect example of late 1980’s new wave sound, its not that well know, but a true masterpiece, co-produced with Robertson by Daniel Lanois, who was also involved with U2 and Gabriel at the time.

Fresh from recording Peter Gabriels “So”, and three King Crimson albums in the early 80’s, Tony Levin drips his master bass sounds on this album, before he takes part in the Yes reunion formed as “Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe” the following year. Levin deliver a solid rhythm section with Manu Katché, who he was also playing with on “So”, not to mention that Peter Gabriel himself, also appears as backup vocalist, and keyboard player on a few tracks. Also Jazz legend Gil Evans, Bassist Larry Klein, and members from The Band, contributed to the album.

All four members of U2, forms the backing band on two tracks, “Sweet Fire of Love” co-written by U2 and Robertson. The tracks have a nice U2 feel about them, but are still very much Robertson’s, and melt perfectly with the other tracks on the album.

At this point I guess some are thinking, that’s all fine but who is this mister Robertson able to get those big names to play on his album ?, Robertson was one of the founding members, the main songwriter, and lead guitarist of Canadian “The Band”, known for their work as Bob Dylan’s backing band, when he turned electric in the late 60’s. The Band had a track on the legendary Easy Rider soundtrack.

The Band is also knows for their legendary farewell concert The Last Waltz, featuring a list of names, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Ringo Starr, Paul Butterfield and more. The Concert was the basis of Martin Scorsese documentary The Last Waltz released in 1978, still ranked as one of the best Rock films ever made.

The Band and Neil Young from The Last Waltz

Hidden 80′s Gems – Part 6 1986

The The : Infected
My friend got “Infected”, I think shortly after it was released back in 1986. At this point The The, was a Matt Johnson solo project, supported by friends and session musicians.

This boy was angry, not that fake Sex Pistols kind of angry, we are talking totally pissed off by the world, no matter if he was talking about love or politics, he was not sweet about it, something that made him perfect for my 80’s, where everyone else seemed a bit, well nice and boring. He did not seem to aim only for MTV fame, he seemed to have a message. Something as rare as a 80’s protest songs.

Infected strength lays in its contrast, at first glance it’s a powerful but relatively radio friendly 80’s Rock, with a good solid beat and some great melodies, but when the frontman starts screaming: “I can’t see for the tear gas, & the dollar signs in my eyes.” Into your ears, it creates a different energy. Energy in line with the one you would get from the much harder 90’s bands, same aggression, very different music.

By 1988 The The frontman had recruited The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, and created a great live band.
Despite the fact that the attitude was tough, the music was accessible and their mid to late 80’s albums did do well in UK and New Zealand, and fairly well in other countries. The The haven’t played live since 2002, but Matt Johnson have made some film soundtrack. In 2011 “This Is The Day” was covered by Manic Street Preachers.

The The was and is one of my favourite 80’s bands, managed to see them live in 2000 while they was still active, they were fantastic, a concert to never forget

Hidden 80’s Gems – Part 1 1980-1981

Those of us growing up with the supreme albums of the 70’s, time of the allmighty supergroups of Progressive Rock and Jazz/Rock Fussion, those devastated by the loss of Lenon and Zeppelin, tends to think of the 80’s as bullshit, remember the nightmare of watching Phil and Jon selling out on MTV. But that is just an ilusion, because there was a lot of crap in the 70’s, and there was a lot of good stuf in the 80’s, hidden in the boxes in the backest back of the record store. What I intend to do now, is pick one of those albums for every sorry year, from the dark age of music. (all characters appearing in the above post are fictitious)

1980 – Pere Ubu – The Art Of Walking
Pere Ubu’s version of new wave is truely unique, avantgarde experimental garage rock (or punk?)
Having made improvised noice for years, I was amused to find, that it was an artform in its own, and that some people was able to sell it. I had found hope, and faith !!

On The art of walking Ubu takes their music to the extreme abstraction, It is caos, but caos with a lot of beauty, drama, dreamy moods and a hole lot of humour. The album was my first Ubu so to this day its my favorite.

1981 – Brian Eno and David Byrne – My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
Another 80’s album, twisting my views on what music is, what in can do, and how its should be done.

As opose to the idear of (rock) music, as albums made by bands of 3-6 people, in studio sessions. This was something very diffrent, it was a collage of sounds, mixed together, to create a piece of art. It sounded like a trillion of samples played at the same time, and yet, it worked perfectly. Another game changing fact was, it was a totaly multi cultural mix, a milestone in the development of music in years to come.

Fripp and Steven Wilson, No-Man : Flowermouth

Friday is Fripp day
What a Fripp
Turn the lights down please, relax, lay back and Fripp !

If you discover No-Man today, it will most likely be because you know about Porcupine Tree, and/or Steven Wilson, and find out that he has got this “side” project going called No-Man. The truth is, it is not a side project, he started Porcupine and No-man, almost simultaneously. Anyway in that case you might not think about checking “Flowermouth” because it from 1994, and it is the 2nd album, who wants to check the 2nd ? But that would be a shame, because it’s a darn good 2nd. Flowermouth draws inspiration from 80’ New Wave and Synthpop, adding art rock elements and ambient textures. With Steven Wilson mixing, as expected, “Flowermouth” is a rich sonic experience.

Flowermouth : Simple (with:Fripp, vocal sample of Lisa Gerrard (Dead Can Dance)

Besides the core duo of Steven Wilson (multiple instruments) and Tim Bowness (vocal) “Flowermouth” was spiced with guest performances from prominent names, Robert Fripp and Mel Collins from “King Crimson”, Richard Barbieri and Steve Jansen from “Japan”, Ian Carr from “Nucleus”, and drummer Chris Maitland.

Flowermouth : Animal Ghost (with Fripp, Mel Collins, Chris Maitland)

Richard Barbieri recorded an fine album “Flame” with No-Man vocalist Tim Bowness, the same year as “flowermouth” was recorded, Richard Barbieri and guest drummer Chris Maitland, joined Wilsons psychedelic solo project Porcupine Tree and together with Colin Edwin (bass) turned it into a very successful Progressive Rock Band.

Flowermouth : Shell Of A Fighter (with Fripp, Richard Barbieri)

In between his work with other projects and his flagship Porcupine Tree, Steven have kept No-Man going and they have released 6 studio albums, latest in 2008. Wilson and Fripp remained friends and Wilson have been working on, reissues of the King Crimson catalog in 5.1 surround sound. Fripp played a guest performance on Porcupine Three’s 2007 EP Nil Recurring, with a guitar solo on the title track.

Porcupine Tree : Nil Recurring

The Call – Blood Red (America)

The 80’s incarnation of the phenomena mainstream Rock, never had the big impact on me, not a big fan of Springsteen, Bryan Adams, Bon Jovi, and that sort of thing, but some rock bands, did some very good albums, one of my favorite 80’s band was “The Call”, from Santa Cruz, California and particularly their 1986 album “Reconciled”.

Blood Red (America)

Im not sure if I should call them Mainstream, New Wave, or Alternative, it is somewhere in between.
It is plain and simple, basic rock music, very intense and emotional, and kicking my sorry ass to pieces. Can’t believe they never got that big international breakthrough they deserve.

Everywhere I Go

Legendary guitarist Robbie Robertson of The Band appeared on “The Morning””, Jim Kerr and Peter Gabriel backing vocals on “Everywhere I Go” . Michael returned the favor by singing on Gabriels’ LP So, as well as Simple Minds’ album Once Upon A Time.

The Morning

The Call disbanded in 2000, front man Michael Been died in 2010, after a heart attack.