Tagged: Thomas Dolby

Review: Tolerance

Incan Abraham - Tolerance
Incan Abraham – Tolerance

Incan Abraham’s new album Tolerance comes out today on White Iris Records.  It’s a nice slice of indie pop, ranging from the kind of dreamy, drifting kind of sound, mingling of synthesizers and traditional instruments seamlessly.  Especially in the percussion, there’s a bit of the world music influence you can hear in bands like Vampire Weekend — but without the really weird production on the Vampire Weekend stuff that makes it sound like it was recorded in a warehouse.  Seriously, what’s with that? Continue reading

Review: Thomas Dolby – A Map of the Floating City

thomas-dolby_a-map-of-the-floating-city_coverWhen you haven’t released a new album in nineteen years [1], it’s a bold statement to open with a song called “Nothing New Under the Sun.” Amidst wobbly bass synths and brassy horns, the synthetic pop sounds of Thomas Dolby are familiar comfort to anyone who has heard his more famous works of the early 80s. When paired off with the arabesque “Spice Train,” and its meaty dance beat, one might be fooled into thinking Dolby’s back doing that same thing again. As Thomas tosses out a quip of “Hey, any fool can write a hit,” in “Nothing New Under the Sun,” and he should certainly know. We’re a long way from “She Blinded Me With Science” here, though.

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Forgotten Records: Bruce Woolley & The Camera Club – English Garden

Cover of "English Garden"

Cover of English Garden

Is it really a trivia question when everyone and their grandmother knows the answer? If the question is “What was the first video played on MTV?” I would have to say the answer is no.[1]  Babies fresh from the womb could tell you that it was “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles. The real trivia question is this: “Who recorded ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ first?” That’s right; it’s a cover tune, originally recorded by Bruce Woolley & The Camera Club for their album English Garden. The would-be Buggles, Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes, wrote the song for Bruce’s band, and while they had some success, Horn and Downes decided to make it their first single. The rest is history and music trivia. There wasn’t bad blood, though. Bruce Woolley was close with The Buggles, though never an official member. He even appears in The Buggles video for “Video Killed the Radio Star”, a friendly shout-out to the guy who tried to make a hit of it first, and joined them for a couple of The Buggles occasional one-off performances. The success of the cover version left The Camera Club’s lone album, English Garden to the dustbin of musical history. Thankfully, history has preserved video of the band performing on the Old Grey Whistle Test[2], and on BBC Midlands.

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EP: he is really bad at playing that song…

Hey, remember those Video 45s that Sony used to release in the early 80s? A VHS of about 3 or 4 music videos by an artist? Those were pretty cool; I almost wore out my Thomas Dolby and Blotto ones. So, for the holiday season, I put together a Kittysneezes Video 45! Except that it’s not put out by Sony and no VHS copies of it exist. Unless someone out there is bored enough to dump these to tape. In which case, more power to you, I suppose. Sure, the individual tracks have been issued over the past week and a half — but I didn’t reveal my master plan! Now, here is the Kittysneezes Video EP: he is really? bad at playing that song…

On this recording, Kittysneezes is:
Rev. Syung Myung Me: Vox, Guitar, Banjo, Keyboards, Drum Machine, Thingamagoop

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The Opposite of Smoke is Egg Whites

Diagram of CD layers. :A. A polycarbonate disc...
Diagram of CD layers. :A. A polycarbonate disc layer has the data encoded by using lands and pits. :B. A reflective layer reflects the laser back. :C. A lacquer layer is used to prevent oxidation :D. Artwork is screen printed on the top of the disc. :E. A laser beam reads the polycarbonate disc, is reflected back, and read by the player. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who don’t like hypothetical mix CDs? Nope — nothing better than a hypothetical mix CD, not at all! Nope! Can’t think of a thing! And the theme for this one is songs over 5 minutes!

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Review: The Official Secrets Act

The Official Secrets Act (album)
The Official Secrets Act (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[Purchase CD]

For a while, it seemed that whenever I’d go to a used record store, they’d always have a copy of Official Secrets Act by M. Strangely enough, none of his other records. I think I ended up giving up looking for M vinyl after around a year or so, and to date, I only have two: The 12″ of “Moonlight and Muzak” and (my first M release ever) Official Secrets Act. It’s funny – I couldn’t even find a copy of his hit album/single (New York London Paris Munich and “Pop Muzik“). I mean, I’ve got all the material on the CDs released by Westside in 1998 (which are out of print now, though JVC Victor in Japan is re-issuing these discs in mini-LP sleeves, complete with the same bonus tracks), so it’s not like I don’t have the material, but still.

This record is one of my favorites by anyone. It’s even better than his excellent New York London Paris Munich, also a pop masterpiece. M’s last record, Famous Last Words, though it featured Thomas Dolby and Ryuichi Sakamoto, isn’t nearly as great, but it’s still got a lot of classics (“Neutron” is one of the catchiest songs ever, at least amongst songs about the bomb). I never bought the fourth, unofficial M record (He recorded it under his real name, Robin Scott, though it does still seem grouped with his M stuff) Jive Shikisha, recorded with African vocal group Shikisha. It’s a combination of western pop music with African tribal type music and from what I’ve heard from it, it’s all right if you’re into that sort of thing, which I’m not (I must say it didn’t turn me off immediately like most of that type of record does, though). It does tend to show off M/Scott’s talent for pop hooks, though.

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