27 June 2008

"strange but true" || times two || 1988

This is a lost gem from the era of late '80s power-pop.

Times Two evidently hit it big with their cover of the Simon & Garfunkel song "Cecilia," but after hearing this track I'm not really sure why this wasn't a bigger success. It's a much better song, with a catchier hook and a sound that was more fitting to that time. This has powerful bass & synth and sounds more like a rock song than "Cecilia," which leans toward a poppy reggae sound.

The songs on this album were very obviously written with a lot of care. The songwriters and producers really took their time to produce something special, and for that reason it stands out to me as more than a silly pop album. They were trying to appeal to several different crowds of listeners, and the result that they created is somewhat of a pop music smorgasbord. In addition to the power-pop of this track, "Hey Mr. D.J.," and "3 Into 2," and the reggae tones of "Cecilia," we hear glorious pop ballads that are quite soulful in "Only My Pillow Knows" and "L.O.D." They even tap into youthful electro energy on "Romeo," which could have easily been a floorfiller at school dances.

The album is very obviously geared toward emotional youth, but that doesn't make it any less brilliant. It's incredibly well written and well produced, and I'm sad that we never got to see a followup.

Maybe "Strange But True" was a big radio hit on the coasts, as I hadn't ever heard it until I got this single in a lot of 7-inch singles that I bought on eBay about a year ago. I'm honestly surprised that it's not heard on the radio today on '80s flashback stations, as it seems like a perfect sign of the times, in addition to being a quality pop song.


Available On:
X2Reprise9 25624-2CD

19 June 2008

traxxlisting #2 :: albums that need to be (re)released on cd

I will preface this Traxxlisting by saying this: If you know something that I don't, and any of these albums listed below are actually on CD somewhere (except Ta Mara), PLEASE drop a comment and let me know!

Top 7 Albums That Should Be Released On CD

  1. 10¢ A Dance by The Flirts
  2. I'm actually surprised that this album hasn't ever made it to CD. It contains the classic track "Passion," which has been sampled by countless DJs, including the legendary Felix da Housecat. "Jukebox" is a classic as well, but it's been released on a bunch of compilation CDs, as it's somewhat of an '80s radio classic. The rest of the album is beachy surf-party-rock fun, but "Jukebox" and "Passion" alone justify a CD release of this album.

  3. Einzelhaft by Falco
  4. If It weren't for an old friend of mine, I never would have appreciated Falco's musical talent. Everybody who knows '80s music is familiar with his track "Rock Me Amadeus," but few remember that he originally recorded the song "Der Kommissar" before it was made famous by the group After The Fire just one year later. Aside from that track though, there are several golden early rap numbers on this LP. My personal favorite is "Zuviel Hitze" (German for "Too Much Heat").

  5. Flashbeagle
  6. An absolute favorite from my childhood! Snoopy goes flashdance as he sneaks out at night and breakdances in the local discotheque. Mega '80s and totally tubular! The title track would have fit right into Top 40 radio in 1983. The female vocals on it (and the other songs on this record) are sung by Desiree Goyette, who also holds a special place in my heart for doing music for some Garfield specials as well. She's a talented lady with a beautiful voice. She now runs her own publishing company.

    This record is an absolute piece of '80s gold and needs to be preserved forever in a digital format. DO IT, WARNER BROS.!

  7. Trans-Atlantic by Jon St. James
  8. A classic synthpop record, and one of St. James' two solo albums, both of which are genius. This one sticks more to a solid synthpop/new wave sound, while his second album, Fast Impressions, was more of an exploration in MIDI programming and instrumentals. This one sports some killer vocals and melodies, and an awesome version of the Q classic "Playback," sung as a duet with Miss Q herself.

    I'm not surprised that this one hasn't made it to CD, but I think it's time.

  9. Ta Mara & The Seen by Ta Mara & The Seen
  10. I'm cheating a bit on this one, as it has indeed been pressed on a CD, but only in Japan. When it's on eBay it sells for ridiculous amounts of money.

    That's simply not right! This is a classic piece of Minneapolis funk, and it deserves a re-release. The fact that Jesse Johnson produced it merits a re-release automatically!

    "Everybody Dance" is available on a couple of compilations, but I've never seen "Affecttion" on one, and people seem to remember it just as much. "U Turn Me Up" is another great tune. These all need to be on a CD!

  11. Wolf & Wolf by Wolf & Wolf
  12. Every single track on this record is brilliant. It's from the golden era of new wave. It's a perfect blend of electronic new wave and new wave rock. Bottom line, it makes you want to dance your ass off. I'd love to have this one on CD so I can crank it super loud without hearing "s" distortion, and so I can hear the full instrumental quality of "Talk Of The Town," "Katmandu," and "Don't Take The Candy."

  13. Playback by SSQ
  14. Executives at EMI Records, heed my words: If you re-release this album on CD, it will fly off of the shelves. This album has such a cult following that I'm stunned that it's never been pressed on a CD. Maybe I'm biased because I consider it to be the soundtrack of my life, but I'm not going to accept that that's the only reason I want this on a CD. I think these songs deserve to be heard by today's ears again, because they're the masterwork of the artists that worked on them.

There you have it!

16 June 2008

"i love you cause i have to" || dogs die in hot cars || 2004

The title of this one already makes you want to hear it, no?

I was so pleasantly surprised when I heard this song back in 2004. It reminds me of early-'90s alt rock, but the influence of a ska sound is absolutely undeniable. Odly enough, I've never heard a more pleasant combination of two SUCH different styles of rock music! It's such a healthy blend that I can't even say that it leans toward one sound over the other.

The song's lyrics are just precious. The guy is depressed over his crappy relationship, so how does he cope?

"Now I spend most of my time playing computer games"

Yes, you heard correctly.


I really wish these guys would pop out another album. I didn't really find any other winners on this record, but "Godhopping" isn't a bad tune. It definitely leans more toward that '90s alt rock influence.


Available On:
Please Describe YourselfV263881-27204-2CD

12 June 2008

"dancing on my grave" || ghostland observatory || 2008

Another cool modern track that fits nicely into this blog.

Ghostland Observatory are an indie electro group from Austin, TX. Robotique Majestique is their third album, and by far their most solid work.

This song sounds like it's the missing track from the soundtrack to The Return Of The Living Dead. It's part punk, part electro, part party, and definitely very '80s.

All in all, a fun song that I hope becomes a classic.


Available On:
Robotique MajestiqueTrashy MopedTMR-004CD