Category c) Eighties [1980 – 1989]

ROCKIN’ ALL OVER THE WORLD—AUSTRALIA

SUNNY BUT OVERCAST It is a puzzle why some bands get so little attention outside their country of origin. And sometimes precious little inside it. The debut by Sydney’s Sunnyboys is an excellent example of an album that is worthy of greater regard. It would most likely thrill fans of Matthew Sweet’s more driving work […]

BRIGHT SKY BLUE

White Music Go 2 Drums and Wires Black Sea English Settlement Mummer What an amazing band XTC were. Few rock outfits have produced such an interesting and diverse catalogue of albums, nor shown the kind of growth and development the lads from Swindon demonstrated across fourteen albums between 1978 and 2000. From angular post-punk through […]

THE FUTURE’S SO BRIGHT

When it came to writing songs for his first solo album after leaving Steely Dan, Donald Fagen heeded that timeless advice to authors, write about what you know. The record was The Nightfly and the year was 1982, though you wouldn’t know it from the cover. Fagen is photographed in a Peter Gunn era radio […]

GENTLEMEN TAKE POLAROIDS

The stereo in our living area has an old Sony CD player that clunks a bit but still works fine. I could replace it, but it has a capacity that is sometimes very useful. It is a five-disc changer. For those unfamiliar with such fancy modern technology, this machine allows you to load up to […]

COLOURS OF EDEN

A breeze skating a frozen pond.  A face that doesn’t match its name.  Wonder and anguish entwined. The task of capturing the elusive, strangled beauty of Talk Talk. I could try to net these butterfly phrases, compile them, pin them, offer them to you in a month or two as a display-board eulogy for Mark […]

DUNE, CHAPTER TWO

It is a rule of cinema that any successful novel will eventually be made into a film, no matter how challenging the translation from page to screen might appear. It is a rule of the known universe that any film adaptation of a beloved book will disappoint bibliophiles. It is a rule of pop that […]

DARK SIDE OF THE MOOMIN

Having had a less than stellar university career the first time around, it would be fair to say I was a little nervous about returning to higher education a mere three years after having been shown the door. Trepidation notwithstanding, back I toddled for another crack, this time via the Creative Arts stream in an […]

TALK, IT’S ONLY TALK

I In 1974, Robert Fripp broke up the band he co-founded in late 1968, one of the most innovative and restless to achieve widespread success. King Crimson’s final release in this period was Red, arguably one of the band’s finest and most consistent and certainly one of my favourites. II In April 1981, Sounds magazine […]

AN EDGY GENTLEMAN (2)

The delay and decay guitar experiments Robert Fripp used as the foundation for God Save The Queen / Under Heavy Manners were recorded in 1979, with the album being released in January 1980. A couple of months later, Fripp started rehearsing a new band in—according to the back cover of the subsequent album—“a 14th century […]

THE KING HAS ABDICATED (1)

It was always worth checking out Allans sales. Although determinedly mainstream and totally in thrall to the hits of the day, the music shop occasionally ordered—and got stuck with—oddities, outliers and obscurities. These ended up in the SALE bins, usually at excellent prices. I loved those sales; you could take a punt of three or […]