Tag Archive | "New Order"

New Order – Bristol Harbourside (July 18, 2019)

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New Order – Bristol Harbourside (July 18, 2019)

Posted on 19 July 2019 by Joe

New Order frontman Bernard Sumner was in unusually chatty mood during his band’s 17-track long set in the stunning settings of Bristol harbourside.

Flanked by the surprisingly pictureque crescent of the Lloyds Banking Group offices to one side and the river Avon on the other,  Sumner thanked ‘Bristol’, mentioned that the weather is great. He also laughed that the next in this this open air series of gigs was going to ‘piss down’ tomorrow, and, well, actually that’s pretty much it. But for him on stage that’s pretty chatty.

New Order 1

New Order are almost the full orginal line up these days. Sumner with his precision perfect riffs. There’s drummer Stephen Morris , part drumming android, part human, and keyboardist and pop heart of the band Gillian Gilbert.

There’s no Peter Hook of course, who back catalogues New Order and their predecessor group Joy Division with his own band these days. But could New Order be better for his departure?

The tracks from their most recent, Hook-less, album Music Complete are indeed superb, as good as their ’80s hey-day. Also with a ‘normal’ bassist live it allows the tracks to come alive and not bogged down by too many intricate five strong bass melodies.

Tuttle Frutti, Restless, Plastic and Singularity were the four Music Complete tracks that were seamlessly part of their mainly greatest hits set.

This also included a mammoth five Joy Division tracks, to the delight of the very many 50-plus men in Unknown Pleasures t-shirts present.

Sumner always seemed a reluctant frontman in New Order’s early days as the band emerged from Joy Division following the suicide of frontman Ian Curtis.

New Order 2

Here though he seemed to revel in New Order’s tribute to these great, late-1970s tracks.

She’s Lost Control, Shadowplay and Transmission early on in the set were beautiful, especially to hear Sumner and Morris recereating note for note and beat for beat the originals. The added keyboards filled it out well too.

The next Joy Division wave came at the end with two tracks from Closer, Decades and Love Will Tear Us Apart. The latter is actually now a festival sized sing-a-long of a track these days.

In between the old and new it was time for New Order’s top tracks to shine. Bizarre Love Triable, True Faith, Perfect Kiss, Blue Monday and Temptation were particularly good. Listening to a crowd ‘wooh-wooh’-ing and get the wrong eye colour sing-a-longs in Temptation was among many highlights.

Meanwhile Your Silent Face was, like the Joy Division covers, was a surprise treat.

Without Hook there’s no Elegia or Age of Consent, two highlights from the last time I saw them live, at the Reading Festival in 1989. But did it really matter? Watching them embrace their Joy Division past so readily, churn out their hits and showcase their fine recent work was more than enough.

A special mention also goes to the two blokes in the Lloyds offices watching in awe from their prime view, only to stop when another man came to talk to them. At least they got to enjoy most of the set.

By Joe Lepper


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Festival Number 6, Portmeirion (Sept 5-7, 2014)

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Festival Number 6, Portmeirion (Sept 5-7, 2014)

Posted on 09 September 2014 by John Haylock

Situated near Porthmadog on cliffs that tumble down to Cardigan Bay, Portmeirion started life in the 1920s as the whimsical vision of Welsh architect Clough Williams Ellis.  Since then it has provided the real life surreal backdrop to 1960s TV show The Prisoner, is one of the Wale’s oddest tourist attractions and each September is the setting for the music, arts and literature focused Festival Number 6.


Now in its third year, the festival, which is named after the hero of The Prisoner,  is getting into gear, with the previous two events marred by bad weather. Thankfully though Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, who were among the performers, brought her Heatwave with her and the event was blessed with torrential sunshine. Sunday was especially sun soaked with the location mirroring the town’s Italian Mediterranean inspiration perfectly as festival-goers took to boarding, swimming and sun bathing.

Among highlights of the Friday bill were a rockin’ teen combo called Childhood. These ex-Nottingham University chaps certainly have a classy set of self penned tunes; melodic with fits of noise. Apparently they are bemused by comparisons as they are so young and are not familiar with half of the references, but older listeners might like to think Teenage Fanclub meets The Byrds.


Down by the sea, in a small marquee we cross paths with the bearded and dishevelled post punk singer/songwriter/Krautrock afficianado and now novelist, Julian Cope. He spends an entertaining hour telling us how great his new book is. You do not disagree with Julian, although toward the end of the interview a guy decides to have a go at him for not being green enough by writing paperbacks and using up trees. Sadly though this exchange was cut short by a guy from Cope’s publisher Faber and Faber and Cope’s declaration that, “I’m sorry but the trees must fall, my book must be read by everyone.”

It’s an incredible 14 years since Damon Gough, aka Badly Drawn Boy released his Mercury prize winning album Hour of the Bewilderbeast. I am happy to report that he’s still a magnificent live draw as he played to a packed crowd on a small stage in the woods. With the sun shining and the atmosphere electric he proved to be an absolute top bloke with an arsenal of fine, memorable tunes and a deadpan wit that the crowd just loved. Anyone who can deftly drop in a cover of The First Picture of You by The Lotus Eaters three numbers in, is a bloody star.

Tom Hickox

Tom Hickox

Manchester poetry mafia takeover in the afternoon with a great in-yer-face performance by Mike Garry. He swaggered, shouted, swore and even got people to dance to a poem about former Factory Records boss the late Tony Wilson.

London Grammar headline Friday night and we ask ourselves, ‘why?’You know that point in the evening when you want nothing more than a groovy, happy stupid dance; when you want to get down with your bad self and hug a complete stranger? Well, if that’s your bag don’t book London Grammar.

Fortunately Andy Weatherall and his DJ chums were on hand until 4 am and thankfully groove is in the heart people. We find a castle with a bar and watch old Welsh farmers get pissed and sing songs about sheep.

Saturday is a blur of carnival colour, intimate gigs in a quiet rooms on shiny wooden floors, in particular the great Steve Mason playing a set of his songs with arrangements by composer in residence Joe Duddell. This took place in a hushed packed room of about 50 of us, listening intently as he sang accompanied by a string section. With the sun flaring in through giant windows behind him it was a beautiful experience.

John Shuttleworth

John Shuttleworth

From the sublime to the ridiculous. Less than an hour later and barely 200 yards away John Shuttleworth, aka  Graham Fellows, blows London Grammar away with hilarious renditions of his classics Can’t go back to savoury now, Two margarines on the go and Pigeons in flight.

On the main stage a gentleman by the name of Tom Hickox is a discovery, playing piano and delivering his songs with a deep, not unpleasant voice somewhere akin to David Sylvian and Nick Cave, he captures an unsuspecting crowd and goes down a treat. He mentions a debut album produced by Richard Hawley, must investigate.

Peter Hook

Peter Hook

Peter Hook, along with his band The Light, continue to uphold the Joy Division back catalogue since his acrimonious split with New Order. Despite his voice going he makes a bloody good fist of it and manages to capture some of the Ian Curtis in the songs. And what songs they are: 24 hours, Isolation, She’s Lost Control and of course Love Will Tear Us Apart. Supplemented with a smattering of early New Order and you have a gem of a set.

Beck is an elusive enigmatic individual not prone to hectic touring schedules. It is something of a coup that Festival Number Six secured him as Saturday’s headline act. His was an astonishingly good show, perhaps the best performance of the weekend, with a visually stunning light show and a six-piece band of dynamite players. He looks dapper in his little black hat and seemingly not aged in the 20 years since he burst onto the scene with the fabulous Loser.



A big guitar chord heralds the arrival of Devils Haircut, a deranged riff of epic proportions ensues, the crowd go bonkers, superb as that is, the next hour or so remains equally delirious, he gives us Black Tamborine, hell yes, New Pollution, Loser, (a version that will remain with me forever) as well as a covers of I Feel Love, Blue Monday and The Rolling Stone’s Miss You. For the encore there was Sexx Laws and the fantastic Where It’s At, mindblowing.

As for Sunday, Derry’s most famous sons The Undertones played a good set, minus Fergal Sharkey but still rocking. It was great to hear some of their early John Peel endorsed punk rock poppery, I Don’t Wanna Get Over You, Jimmy Jimmy, My Perfect Cousin and Teenage Kicks, the latter prompting hordes of people to descend to the front suddenly realizing who it was as they had been listening to.

Elsewhere on Sunday The Pet Shop Boys did a rousing version of Go West with the Brythoniaid Welsh male voice choir, ex-Fall bassist Steve Hanley talked about the writing of his new book, detailing his time in this most iconic of bands.  With the combined effects of heat exhaustion and rum at one point I nearly bought a bespoke jacket for £400, fortunately the price tag suddenly sobered me up. With aching feet we surrendered to the sun and listened to a bunch of DJs playing German techno on the seafront.
Checkmate  from The Prisoner

Festival Number 6 is all this but so, so much more. There was also comedy, street theatre, very, very hot curries, more authors, artists, the anti-pissing up fences police, real people chess and the lampshade ladies.

Clough Williams Ellis we salute you.

Words by John Haylock, pictures by Arthur Hughes.


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Splendour Festival, Nottingham (July 20, 2013)

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Splendour Festival, Nottingham (July 20, 2013)

Posted on 23 July 2013 by Joe

If ever a name was more appropriate than Splendour for a festival, then I can’t think of one. With it’s beautiful backdrop of the magnificent Wollaton Hall (Wayne manor in the latest Batman movie) and set amid acres of lovely rolling countryside, fields, stables, courtyards and enclosures in addition to a great views of Nottingham from it’s highest point, this park is one of the areas must see attractions.



To utilize it as a venue was inspired, and despite initial concerns from local (dead posh) residents, it is becoming an annual fixture to the local music scene, and this year saw another pop focused, family friendly line up, spread over a couple of stages, with a  relatively diverse bunch of acts set to cater for different generations of fans.

It took until mid afternoon until something special kicked off, a band with the unassuming name of Kagoule, turned it all up to eleven, with a set of arresting blasts of paint stripping three-piece punk rock. From noisy kids to slick middle aged ex- new wavers; Squeeze have come a long ,long way since their days at the forefront of the school of clever English post punk pop. Always a magnificent singles band, they dropped hit after classic hit, middle aged women swooned liberally and dropped their strawberries as they perfectly executed Black Coffee in Bed, Take Me I’m Yours and Pulling Muscles From a Shell. It was so nice to see the band’s songwriting duo Chris Difford and Glen Tilbrook back in the pop saddle again, evidently crazy happy that they are cherished for the institution they so definitely are, oh and the icing on the cake was a great version of an almost forgotten classic, Slap and Tickle.

Peter Hook

Peter Hook

Ok, admission time. The last time I saw Peter Hook live was on the 22nd of October 1979, when Joy Division blew The Buzzcocks off stage in Derby. To see him here tonight with his band, was a tear jerking trip down memory lane. Good god, I thought, as they started with Joy Division’s  Atmosphere. It was middle aged men going apeshit time!

This was then followed by, yes you guessed it, the greatest tune ever in the annals of rock music, my song, and probably yours as well, Love Will Tear Us Apart. But that was merely the beginning of a seventy minute set that then went on to cover everything fantastic that New Order ever recorded, including Your Silent Face, Regret, Senses and Temptation went to another level, prompting a mass sing a long with added hat throwing and pogoing. His finale with Blue Monday was just astonishingly sublime.

Jake Bugg from a safe distance

Jake Bugg from a safe distance

KT Tunstall played some pretty pretty rock ‘n’ roll, Dog Is Dead proved to be merely competent, but Maximo Park caused sparks to fly with a spiky set of jerky pop that caused much silly dancing and teenage girl hysteria. But they couldn’t compete crowd wise with the much anticipated headline appearance from local kid makes good, Jake Bugg. He certainly drew the biggest crowd of the night, but I remained distinctly unimpressed by his lack of  tunes, zero stage presence and  underwhelming voice. Neonfiller photographer Arthur Hughes even remarked that he sounded a bit like Lonnie Donegan At least Lonnie Donegan had at least two great songs, this guy hasn’t got one. We decided to move on and see Ryan Keen on the other stage. Now this guy has it all, a presence, a winning personality, superb acoustic guitar skills and a fabulous voice, very mellow, very beautiful, very laid back. This chap should be on your radar, a previously unheard gem of a discovery. More than compensates for the over priced jacket potato earlier that afternoon. All in all a grand day out, me duck.

Words by John Haylock, pictures by Arthur Hughes.


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Field Harmonics – Walls

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Field Harmonics – Walls

Posted on 18 July 2013 by Joe

Midlands based electro-popster Robert Glover, who is one half of ambient act epic45,  has delved deep into the 1980s world of Depeche Mode for his latest project Field Harmonics.


It’s a wonderfully ambient title for an act, and first track Proem is indeed moody in a New Order’s Elegia kind of way, but do not be fooled into thinking this is an ambient album. The mainstream pop of not only Depeche Mode but also the Pet Shop Boys shine through far more brightly. Think cool 80s underground disco rather than techy wallflower pop.

This debut album under the Field Harmonics name really comes alive for second track Happenstance, a wonderful slice of synth pop with echoes of OMD in their early prime. Even Glover’s vocals have that same distinct 80s nasal quality of Andy McClusky. Walls and Kessler follow a similar path, before a  slightly more  ambient diversion with Regret and Voice. The best has been left till last with the final track Everyone, a swirling electropop epic.

What’s most pleasing about this album is the attention to detail in the production. Glover clearly loves the 80s era and has made sure his bleeps and synths conjure it up perfectly. Is there a downside? Yes, but in a good way; at just seven songs it feels far too short. I’m keen for album number two already.


by Joe Lepper


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Festival Number 6, Portmeirion, Wales

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Festival Number 6, Portmeirion, Wales

Posted on 24 September 2012 by Joe

Festival number 6 must be one of the last large musical gatherings of a year in which the UK weather dominated and indeed ruined many like minded ventures.

To hold the inaugural Festival number 6 in Wales, which has more rain per day than Rangoon does in its monsoon season, seems like a damp and sodden suicidal  invitation to the rain dogs. Thankfully though the September weather failed to prevent the multitudes from revelling in one of year’s most gloriously surreal weekends of diverse entertainment.

First up let’s talk about the location, Portmeirion, a large sprawling fake Italian village constructed years ago, embedded on the tumbling down to the sea Welsh coastline, made famous globally as the set of cult sixties TV show The Prisoner, with its distinct  houses, towers, verandas and bandstands. It’s an inspired choice of venue for a festival as the village was taken over, the local woods turned into mini raves, the bandstands into tiny venues and the large lawns atop the village holding a huge 7,000 capacity marquee. It was magnificently and meticulously organised.

King Creosote

The line up as well was superb, leaving our jaws agape as we tripped the light fantastic with Spiritualized, got our rocks off with Primal Scream, who in middle age have turned into the leanest of  kick ass rock machines. Their track Loaded never sounded more apt as the sights at the festival went from the sublime to the ridiculous as we witnessed three ladies in twenties bathing suits swimming in a tiny, tiny pool, a semi clad fire dancer doing her stuff to a dubstepped up version of War Pigs, Stuart Maconie interviewing Simon Day, King Creosote and one of our favourite live acts Stealing Sheep stealing our hearts with their skewed sideways folk rockery.

Stealing Sheep

We dined on Brains bitter and Italian fancies, met no VIPS in the VIPs tent and stood slack jawed at the awesomeness of Oldham’s The Whip, who used lights and one of the best sound systems I’ve ever heard all to great effect. We witnessed The Wedding Presents’ David Gedge thrashing out Brassneck, poets both good and bad and…. coming to a large venue near you soon, Tony Law rocking the comedy tent.

On Saturday night I wasn’t the only one moved to tears when a large male voice choir bizarrely covered ‘Blue Monday’ and went on to dedicate ‘You’ll never walk alone’ to the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster. It was absolutely incredible. New Order, themselves were also on the bill and continued to reduce grown men to tears. To put it bluntly this was simply one of the best festival I’ve ever been to as the withdrawal symptoms continue. We understand that all being well this could be a fixture in the festival calendar for another three years at least.

Rain gods you cannot defeat us. To paraphrase New Order, we were touched by the hand of god…or it could just have been Prisoner star Patrick Magoohan?

Words by John Haylock, pictures by John Haylock and Arthur Hughes.


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Top 100 Albums (30-21)

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Top 100 Albums (30-21)

Posted on 29 March 2011 by Joe

We have been releasing this list ten at a time every Friday. Hope you enjoy this latest instalment. The rest of the Top 100 can be found here.

30. Sonic Youth – Sister

Most critics site Daydream Nation as the best Sonic Youth album but Sister is just as good and marks the point where the band made the shift from being a cult act to being alt-rock superstars. ‘Scizophrenia’ opens the album in dour claustrophobic style and perfectly sets the mood. Second track ‘Catholic Block’ is full throttle thumping drums and full-on guitar riffing. One of the real strengths of the album is the way that it moves between slow, noisy, catchy, formless and rocky with such natural ease. This is the sound of a great band at the height of their powers and represents the best set of songs that they’ve (as yet) put on record. Sonic Youth are such a part of the alternative rock furniture now that it is sometimes easy to forget how influential and significant they were, listening to Sister is a perfect way to remember.

29.  Cotton Mather – Kon Tiki

Austin, Texas, band Cotton Mather sounded like Squeeze, wrote songs like The Beatles and in front-man Robert Harrison had a lead singer who sounded like John Lennon. It’s little wonder the bulk of their critical acclaim came from the UK. Kon Tiki, from 1997, is our pick of their albums. You’d never know it was largely recorded on a four track as it takes in lush psychedelic rock, Beatles-esque harmonies and some of the best power pop of the day. Among our favourite tracks are ‘Vegetable Row’, ‘Spin My Wheels’ and ‘My Before and After’. So what became of the band that the NME once said was the best “guitar pop band since Supergrass” and Noel Gallagher invited to tour with Oasis in 1998? After failing to convert their critical success into commercial appeal they drifted apart and finally split in 2003. Thankfully Harrison continues to write and record with Future Clouds and Radar. Like Cotton Mather  his new band has achieved similar critical success, but has so far failed to garner the commercial appeal Harrison’s talents so richly deserve.

28. Lambchop – Nixon

Nashville country-soul ensemble Lambchop had released six albums over a six year period when Nixon came out in 2000, but it was the first album that sold well enough (and got enough attention) to justify main-man Kurt Wagner giving up his day job. Through the albums ten tracks we are treated to Wagner’s best songwriting, lyrics that make sense but sound oblique all at once and a unique ear for melody.The instrumental arrangements and the playing are superb throughout with strings and horns supplementing the standard country rock instrumentation. The slightly odd production style and the use of atmospheric noise and textures also lift the album above standard alt-country fare. ‘Up With People’ is the best known song on the album, and it is a brilliant slice of pop perfection that builds beautifully and is genuinely uplifting. The other songs may be quieter in the most part, but they are subtle and brooding and brilliant.

27. Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables

California punks Dead Kennedys weren’t just great musicians with a message, they were funny too.   With his tongue firmly in his punk cheek charismatic lead singer Jello Biafra sets out to expose injustice and hypocrisy wherever he saw it on this the band’s 1980 debut. Whether it was the increasingly right wing policies in California (California Uber Alles) or US foreign police in Asia (Holiday in Cambodia) political song writing has rarely sounded better.  They even find time to power out a storming version of the Elvis hit ‘Viva Las Vegas’.

26. Camper Van Beethoven – Key Lime Pie

To some people this would seem an odd choice to pick from the Camper Van Beethoven discography; it is their most conventional album, and doesn’t feature founding member Jonathan Segal. However, it marks the greatest point of evolution in the bands songs and is their most satisfying album. With four albums behind them the band is a remarkably slick unit (especially considering their slacker origins) and David Lowery has never sounded more confident a vocalist than he does here. The songwriting is consistently strong, a set of vignettes showcasing a very literary, amusing and frequently touching lyrical style. ‘Sweethearts’ and ‘All Her Favorite Fruit’ stand up as among the best songs of their career and a cover of Status Quo’s ‘Pictures Of Matchstick Men’ was a surprise MTV hit. Read more about Camper Van Beethoven here.

25. The Hold Steady – Boys and Girls in America

Listening to this 2006 album from The Hold Steady is exhausting stuff as the self proclaimed Number one bar band in America, lead by wordy lead singer Craig Finn, take you on their travels through gigs and parties across America. It’s a world of drugs and booze, some sadness, some madness and a whole bunch of  interesting characters on an album that deservedly brought them to mainstream attention.  From the killer opening guitar riff on ‘Stuck Between Stations’ through to final tracks ‘Chillout Tent’ and ‘Southtown Girls’ this is a fine example of how a band can really relate to the listener; it’s as if they are enjoying the album with you.  For us this remains their best album, especially now as multi-instrumentalist and cheesy keyboard supremo Franz Nicolay has sadly left the band.

24. Julian Cope – Peggy Suicide

Julian Cope deserves better than to be remembered as a drug-addled crazy, sat atop a microphone stand spouting on about standing stones. He is one of pop music’s true eccentrics and his legend is fueled by his own stories and his musical retreat from popular songwriting. However, it would be a real shame to forget what a fantastic songwriter and performer he is, and Peggy Suicide is the best realised album in his back catalogue. Following on from his over-polished late 80s albums and the eccentric  Skellington and Droolian it serves up a double album of tracks that combine the best of both eras. The 18 tracks flow perfectly from one to the next, managing to cover a breadth of musical ground without losing a coherent feel. Cope is in superb voice, his voice a much stronger instrument than he has been given credit for, and his band play the songs with a real verve. It is hard to pick out highlights from such a consistent set, but anyone who can hear ‘Beautiful Love’ and not feel happier for it must be in a pretty bad place.

23. The Sundays -Reading Writing Arithmetic

One of the most striking aspects of this 1990 debut from English band The Sundays is its simplicity. Just simple bass and drums allowing Harriet Wheeler’s wondrous vocals and the guitar work of her future husband David Gavurin to shine. You can almost tell they are a couple even on here as the vocals and guitars blend perfectly. This is guitar based indie pop music as it should be played and features some fine, typically English lyrics too. “England my country the home of the free…such miserable weather,” is among our favourites. The album’s singles ‘Here’s Where the Story Ends’  and ‘Can’t Be Sure’ are among many highlights, but as with many of the albums in our Top 100 it is as a complete product that make this a stand out slice of indie pop. The band went on to further success with their next two albums Blind and Static and Silence but decided to call it a day in 1997. Wheeler and Gavurin, as far as we know did not continue in the music business. A sad loss.

22. The Pixies – Doolittle

The Pixies stand as one of the most important bands of the late 1980s, their sound helping to define the alternative music scene through the early 1990s. Doolittle is an album where everything just works perfectly, adding a pop perfection to the abrasive sonic elements that they had already displayed on their previous album Surfer Rosa. It kicks off with ‘Debaser’ which, along with the timeless pop of ‘Here Comes Your Man’, would be the soundtrack to many an indie disco for years to come. The album showcases just how many styles of music that lead singer Black Francis and co. were comfortable with, and it never becomes predictable or formulaic. ‘Dead’ is all evil sounds and erratic guitar, ‘Hey’ is the closest thing that the band released to a standard love song, and lyrically it strays far from any romantic formula. ‘Monkey Gone To Heaven’ may well be the best single of the band’s career, and shows what an interesting lyricist Black had become. Two albums later it was all over (until the inevitable reunion), but in 1989 this remarkable album was the sound of a band at the peak of their powers.

21. New Order – Power Corruption Lies

1981’s Movement may have been New Order’s first album, but it wasn’t until 1983 with the release of the single Blue Monday and their second album Power Corruption Lies that they successfully stepped out of the shadow of Joy Division. With Power Corruption Lies there were still nods to the downbeat electronic direction that Joy Division was heading in before the death of enigmatic front man Ian Curtis and they became New Order.  ‘We All Stand’ and ‘586’ certainly follow this path. But the bulk of the album is upbeat and pop savvy, showing the dance influences that would shape the band’s music for much of the decade to come. ‘Age of Consent’ and ‘The Village’ are among the most beautiful guitar and synth pop tracks you will ever hear and among our highlights on this great introduction to the Manchester band.

by Joe Lepper and Dorian Rogers


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Bustin’ Out 1983: New Wave To New Beat

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Bustin’ Out 1983: New Wave To New Beat

Posted on 05 October 2010 by Joe

Just a few months after releasing the compilation Bustin Out 1982: New Wave To New Beat Volume 2, Future Noise Music’s Year Zero post punk label is back with the third instalment of their look back at the glory days of electro pop.

As with the last volume this compilation, called Bustin’ Out 1983: New Wave To New Beat and once again created by DJ Mike Maguire, features some lost classics, some more well known numbers and some downright cringe worthy moments.

Among the rarities is NewYork act Liquid Liquid with their infectious ‘Optimo’, all driving bass and cow bells, this is the highlight of the compilation. Another obscurity to stand out is the afro-electro pop of ‘ Masimba Bele’ by Germany’s The Unknown Cases. Featuring former Traffic percussionist Reebop Kwaku Baah this is a cross over that really works.

Like the previous volumes there’s a story to be told in the evolution of electronic music. The move from punk to electro-pop is probably the biggest part of this and on this compilation this is represented by New Order, probably the most successful act to make this transition.

Bustin' Out 1983

The band’s excellent ‘Your Silent Face’ from their second album Power, Corruption, Lies features here. This is a wise choice of track, among their most electronic as the band’s trademark five string bass is replaced by keyboards. While Blue Monday would have been the obvious choice to represent the band during this time, it is welcome that this relatively little known track is given the praise it deserves. Its inclusion makes this compilation far more interesting than other more mainstream compilations looking at this era.

The global movement of electro-pop is also represented, through Belgium’s Front 242, Denmark’s Laid Back and Germany’s Xmal Deutschland. As well as Liquid Liquid, New York’s scene is further represented by Jonzun Crew and Special Request.

It’s not all good. It was after all the early 1980s, an era of ludicrous quiffs and shoulder pads. Among the embarrassing is Neon Judgement’s ‘Fashion Party’ and the casio keyboard basic electronica of John Carpenter’s ‘The End’ and ‘Salsa Smurf’ by Special Request.

There’s also a track that on first listen fits into this category of shame, but over time I’ve grown to love. Anne Clarke’s ‘Sleeper in Metropolis’ sounds like the rant of a student about ‘the system’, but dig deeper and its a harrowing if dated account of urban life.

The album ends perfectly with Cocteau Twin’s ‘Sugar Hiccup’, a track I haven’t heard for years, seemingly about burping while eating Cheerios, although the exact lyrics are open to debate.


by Joe Lepper

See Also: Bustin Out 1982: New Wave To New Beat Volume 2


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Top Ten Alternative Music Videos

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Top Ten Alternative Music Videos

Posted on 21 September 2010 by Joe

Our selection of videos have been picked because they are creative, engaging and different. They may be funny, or visually interesting, but they all have one thing in common – a great song. No amount of money spent on a promo can disguise a bad song and, although there may be better videos out there, these represent how good a video can be when partnered with good music.

1. OK GO – ‘Here It Goes Again’

OK GO prove here how a good simple idea, well executed is much better than an expensive and complicated idea could ever be. They also saved a lot of advertising “creatives” considerable time and effort in thinking of their own idea. See the clip here.

2. New Order – ‘The Perfect Kiss

At nearly 10 minutes long this is the longest video in our selection, it is also the oldest. Directed by Jonathan Demme it is a demonstration of how a video can be simple when accompanied by a near perfect pop song.

3. Dinosaur Jr – ‘Feel The Pain’

This video is not the best known of Spike Jonze’s pop promos, but in my view it is the best. Also one of the best Dinosaur Jr songs from their brief major label career.

4. The Shins – ‘New Slang’

Probably the best known of The Shins songs, and the video has a perfect melancholy feel. It is also a chance to see the band act out a number of classic album covers. How many can you identify?

5. Yo La Tengo – ‘Sugarcube’

Very funny story video from the Hoboken drone rockers. Not a band well known for their pop promos, but this video shows the band’s playful side.

6. The White Stripes – ‘Fell In Love With A Girl’

Back before Jack White was a guitar god superstar his band were producing punk pop genius like this. This lego style video was directed by Michel Gondry who made lots of excellent pop promos before moving into feature films.

7. Okkervil River – ‘Lost Coastlines’

This video, of the first single from The Stand Ins, is another example of how effective a simple idea can be when done well and accompanied by a great song.

8. Hefner – ‘I Took Her Love For Granted’

This is probably the oddest video in the selection. How the idea of the band running, in strange body stockings, has anything to do with the song is anybody’s guess. But it is certainly memorable.

9. Guided By Voices – ‘Bulldog Skin’

An unusually polished promo from the Dayton Ohio rockers. Features a quite charming story and an excellent Doug Gillard guitar solo. “Maximum Riffage” indeed.

10. Field Music – ‘In Context’

This could well be the lowest budget video in our selection, but it is no less effective for that. It stands as the perfect accompaniment to this song from the bands second album, Tones Of Town.


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