39 Years of Faith in The Cure and RSD2020

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I remember the first time I heard the music of the new Cure record, Faith, on the college radio station. It was another night of me staying up late to catch the beginning of a student-run set and getting new TDK 90 and longer cassette tapes ready. It was damned difficult for a 16-year-old to find the great imports coming out of the UK. And if you did, it wasn’t the one you had been looking for. Or because it was so costly, as, in a Japanese Kimono sleeve, you wanted to make damn sure you liked as much on the album as possible before you lay down that kind of cash. So most of my early favs were of course taken off the radio. Lucky for me, some of the kids spinning would play the whole record and tell you the tracks off each side so you could edit. It was a way to survive until you could get a clean factory copy. When I heard “Primary” for the first time, it was all I could do to not start dancing on the bed. Frowned upon at 1 am in the morning. Still, it would take a few years before I got a good copy of Faith on CD.

So it was when Faith was released by The Cure on 14 April 1981. Many of us “alternative” kids had another step into the new genre of Gothic music that was evolving out of Post-Punk.  It was a great follow up to their 1980 release 17 Seconds and tour. It was filled with more moody chords and lyrics in the same vein, but as discordant as the mood of the band. The recording took place at Morgan Studios in September of 1980, without Matthieu Hartley, who left under that creative differences mist.  The recording started at the studios, but the remaining members of The Cure, Smith, Gallup, and Tolhurst, with Former Member Porl Thompson back for cover design, would try several studios after not getting the sound right, including Abbey Road. It was a turbulent time of transition for the band. Did you know that there was a soundtrack to a short film involved? “Carnage Visors” only made it to an extended cassette version and would finally turn up on a 2005 reissue with the single only “Charlotte Sometimes”.

So this record in its 39th year this week will probably get a 40th-anniversary reboot. But I’m happy to have the original track lineup on 180 vinyl. If you’re feeling a little dystopic in these trying times try a little Faith for some classic The Cure dirge. It will make you melt and dance at the same time. Perfect for your home COVID dance club.

Will COVID-19 kill the Independent Record Shops?

Not if we can help it. Americans get their stimulus checks rolled out this week. We know it’s hard, as many are laughing at how little it will cover to pay rent and bills. But if you can spare a few dollars, try to find a local record shop that is doing curbside. Here in Portland, it’s Music Millenium and a few other smaller shops. Others have had to close up. Call up with your list of wants, help keep someone employed in this insanity.

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Record Store Day 2020 Update

You’ve probably heard by now that RSD has been moved to June 20, 2020, due to the COVID-19 shut-downs around the world. While it looks like this terrible virus and the country may be shut down through mid- June, keep an eye out on their website. Many artists have decided to go ahead and sell the RSD releases via their own sites. Here’s to a socially distanced line, that will go for blocks. As if anything else couldn’t get more muddled this year.

Record Store Day New Date

How Record Stores are Getting Vinyl To You During the Pandemic

‘A grinding halt’: Record stores struggle to stay afloat amid coronavirus crisis

Support your vinyl shops! Check and see if they are taking phone orders and either doing curbside or shipping. Keep small businesses alive!

Peter Hook and The Light: The Setlist Acquisition

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A new gig mystery in which Lapsed Vinyl Goddess acquires her first set list after going to shows for 40 plus years.

One of my Twitter followers from the UK kept bugging me. He noticed that Peter Hook and The Light were hitting Portland this fall. The tour included playing New Order’s Technique and Republic, with a Joy Division and New order mixed set at the end. He kept nudging, you should really go! I had noticed that Peter had been touring with the band the last few years and some of his other bands, Ad Infinitum and Monaco.  I had been a bit skeptical about Peter Hook and The light as they were touring with New Order albums themed shows at their start and wasn’t sure about it. Sometimes the retro tours work and sometimes they don’t. Also, at the time I wasn’t living in a music town, yes, that 13 years of hell. I couldn’t get to see them play.

I should have known better, that one of the founders of Joy Division was driven to play music from the past he helped create, and that he just loves to play shows. It was totally evident in this weeks show on November 7, 2019 at The Wonder Ballroom. It was a complete sellout show and absolutely pumped.

What was tantalizing was a promised Joy Division set. I was a fan of the early days of New Order, but after Brotherhood their music wasn’t doing anything for me anymore. I had hoped that a live show would prove different. It certainly did. I arrived early, near the head of the line. I managed to make it up to stage front and continued hanging out up front with people I had met in line. I found myself right in front of vocalist and guitarist David Potts (Monaco), who was a bit of a card and teased me about my photo taking. Got him back for a tease later. Peter was all over the stage and on top of speakers surfing his instrument.

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I glanced over the top of the stage and when the stage hand taped down the set lists, we were all craning to see, upside down, what the music was. Dead Souls (Joy Division) was at the top of the last set. I was emboldened. You see I have Twitter fiends who have been snagging set lists for years. I have never been so bold. But it was tantalizing me. After the last set where we all belted out and sang horrendously along, and Peter flung his sweat soaked Fact Tee shirt into the crowd, the house lights went up and the hands were clearing up. I couldn’t quite reach the set list so I pointed and smiled. And I got it. I promptly took a snap when I got home and copied Peter on the Twitter posting, thanking them all for a tremendous show. He used it the next day for SF show reminders. 

The tours is finishing up this week in the US. However, Peter announced that they would be doing a 40th Anniversary Joy Division show starting in Spring 2020 in the UK. It will feature Unknown Pleasures and Closer, with a New Order set. If you are traveling to Europe in the Spring, especially try to get to the legendary Barrowland in Glasgow, Scotland, the tickets are selling quick! Here’s hoping they bring it to the US next Fall.

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That’s MY setlist. 

Peter Hook on Joy Division’s 40th

 

Echo and The Bunnymen: The John Peel Sessions 1979-1983

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If it weren’t for John Peel, the champion of musicians on airwaves through his Radio 1 BBC show, Echo and the Bunnymen would never have made it past gigging in the UK in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Like many of their contemporaries, getting airplay was difficult and meant making tapes, recording a single or two, and sending it into John Peel, and any other radio station that you hoped would play it. If he really liked what he heard, thousands of UK and European teens would hear your music. Then you would come in and play live on the show and get recorded. Many bands over the years have recorded for John Peel Sessions, some of the best quality live performances and recordings to be had. If he didn’t like it, it would get pushed aside. Better luck next time.

Echo (Ian McCulloch, Will Sergeant, Les Pattinson, and Pete De Freitas) was lucky in that they were invited back on several occasions. This last September, the band released the collection of recordings from these sessions through Warner Bros/Rhino Records on a limited run (500) hot red 2 x LP, black vinyl, and CD. The records include all of the John Peel Sessions recordings from their early years with commentary by Will Sergeant.

I fought hard and after originally being denied access to buying a red copy, due to some online SNAFU at Rhino Records. I was given a second chance and secured a copy in pre-sale. After waiting 4 weeks and since it was my birthday, it showed up, I was thrilled. Sadly, every corner of the cover was mashed up, Rhino does not ship in really sturdy record boxes like other online vendors do. Luckily the records themselves were alright and I could play them. Unfortunately because there had been a limited run of 500, I could not exchange the records and hopefully have them ship a nice, clean copy with less cover damage. I will be writing to Rhino shortly.

For more John Peel sessions, which came out usually after they aired on the Radio 1 show and can often be found at second hand shops, you can search online for reissues by other bands like The Cure. If you’s like to hear a good sampling of them, check out my friend Scots Post-Punk radio show.

UNAMERICAN Radio Ep 35 John Peel Sessions

 

Talking Heads Fear of Music Turns 40

IMG_3104It’s the first solidifying album of Talking Heads, 70s and 80s New Wave Art House band. Their second album, More Songs About Buildings and Food, was a step away from the debut record, in that they were starting to find their feet. The band, David Byrne, Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth, and Jerry Harrison, decided that the record should not just be a bunch of singles, or singles driven. The next one needed to have more of a theme going on, and actual direction. They also wanted to produce on their own and have more control over the project. This would prove to be an error as they bit off a bit more than they could chew.

After original demos were not going so well, they called back legendary Brian Eno to produce and help get the record on track. It appears that the teenage independence wasn’t working to their advantage. It’s a good thing they did. Fear of Music became Talking Heads transitional album, taking them from their beginnings into young adulthood and expanding audiences.

Fear of Music is still not a polished product, that’s exactly why it’s my favorite Talking Heads album. It still has that angst going on, that reality of life not being what the Great American Promise said it should be. It’s messy and strange. The first Single did not perform well on the charts, however it has been a cult classic, “Life During Wartime”. I always felt that this song was a great discussion of a dystopic future after the apocalypse. Themes of the late 70s and early eighties were surviving the years long cold war and living with Thatcherism and Reaganism on the horizon. George Orwell was being read again, and the fact that this time period should have been the best of times, it was only so for the privileged few. One of the reasons this song is still valid today. It contrasted with “Heaven”, the bands iconic slow favorite. It’s a story about a place you can go, a bar, a place where you know everyone, and can feel you can go.

There are many great songs that talk about the shock of life and reality after you grow up and the teen years fade away. I like to think of this album as an intro to adulthood record. It’s also one of the records my crazy art teacher in high school drummed into our heads while we threw paint at each other. I guess that left an impression.

RSD Black Friday Finds 2018

Waterboys, Nick Cave, and Peter Hook and the Light

Upcoming gigs for this fall in the PDX, time to get your tickets before sell out.

Returning for the first time since 2015, The Waterboys will be playing the Wonder Ballroom on October 7, 2019. Mike Scott and Steve Wickham bring their current lineup of the band that won’t be pigeonholed. From the 80s Big Music to soul and blues, folk, and rock and roll. As of this publication, there is no support band.

The Waterboys at The Wonder Ballroom in Portland, Oregon on October 7, 2019 at 8:30 PM All Ages Show.

Wonder Ballroom 128 NE Russell St Portland, OR 97212 Tickets Here

An Evening with Nick Cave is the following night on October 8, 2019 at the Revolution Hall, 8PM 21+ show.

Nicky Cave is coming to town in that lovely spooky month of October, to have a conversation with you. Check out his show. I have Twitter pals who have seen the show in the Uk and said it’s an eye opener. Intimate evening with the Prince of Darkness, talking about musicianship and his music. This show is sold out. Hope you got yours.

The Revolution Hall SOLD OUT!!!!!!!!!!

Peter Hook & The LightTickets are still available for Peter Hook and The Light Buy Tickets

Tickets are on sale for Peter Hook (Joy Division founder and New Order) and The Light. If you haven’t seen them yet, they have been through Portland a few times. This visit will feature a set of Joy Division, then they will perform New Order’s Technique and Republic albums.

Hooky was very kind and gave me some details very wee hours of the morning after a show in Europe. More details coming. Check out The Wonder Ballroom site for details.

Unknown Pleasures Turns 40

downloadThe eponymous first full album by Joy Division, and the only one Ian Curtis was alive for, Unknown Pleasures was released on June 15, 1979 a on Factory records. The album was a more solid performance for newly renamed Joy Division. Warsaw, as they were previously called, changed their name to avoid confusion with another band, Warsaw Pakt.

Oddly, no singles from Unknown Pleasures were released, with “Transmission” released as a single separately that would attract attention to the album that was slow in selling. While sales were slow to begin with, since its release it has been named one of the best albums of all time by Spin, AllMusic and NME.

Produced by Martin Hannett, using some very un conventional production techniques (AMS Digital Delays, Marshall Time Modulators, and tape echo) The 10 track album lists some of the classic Joy Division catalog including “She’s Lost Control” and “Shadowplay”, a rerecording of a Warsaw song. Previously the band had self produced and released a EP An Ideal for Living after being released from a recording contract with RCA records. The band had three weekends to record for Unknown Pleasures at Strawberry Studios in Stockport.

The iconic cover art of radio waves from pulsar CP 1919 was adapted by Peter Saville, who worked on advertising and posters for Manchester’s Factory club 1978 (The Hacienda). The image is reversed from black on white, and was originally printed on the first editions in a textured card relief. The image has ben morphed and modded over the last 40 years as images for anything from mountain ranges to beer labels. It’s initial run was 10,000 copies, which sold at a very slow rate after the initial 5,000 sold in its first weeks, but copies sat around. After the single “Transmission” came out, the rest of the initial pressings sold out. Joy Division would go on tour supporting The Buzzcocks and a profit of £50,000 in album sales would finally result, being split between Factory records and the band. Sadly, Tony Wilson spent the profits mostly on other Factory Records projects and the band saw very little of it. It would not make it to the UK music charts until after singer Ian Curtis’ death in May 1980, and the release of the second album, Closer, lead to a rerelease of Unknown Pleasures. Finally the album reached No 71 on the UK Albums Charts. It did however reach No 2 on the UK Indie Chart.

Did you get your 40th anniversary Unknown Pleasures album on hot red vinyl on Friday June 14? I’m waiting for the import copy I special ordered. to arrive. Until then I’ll listen to my current playable Canadian molasses version, yeah it’s a vinyl that when you hold up to the sun looks like black strap molasses. How many versions of this album have I owned over the years, two vinyl, one tape, one CD….?

Unknown Pleasures at 40: How Joy Division and singer Ian Curtis changed what rock and pop could be about

Rhino Records Re Release 40th Anniversary Unknown Pleasures

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40th Anniversary Reissue of Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division.