Tag Archives: Synthpop

Bring on the bagpipes

I suppose you could call Cicero a one hit wonder; while he did make a few other pretty good pop singles, none had the impact that this one did (his only top 40 hit, it climbed to #19 just in time for Valentine’s Day, which is damn good timing). Though US-born, David Cicero (for it is he) was raised in Livingston in Scotland’s central belt, so his Scottish accent – one of the most striking things about this record – is genuine. The other striking elements are of course the bagpipes (again, the real thing) and the whole Pet Shop Boys production, complete with unmistakable Neil Tennant backing vocals.

For me, the extended mix is the winner here.

Link: Cicero – Love Is Everywhere (password: salad)

1. Love Is Everywhere
2. Love Is Everywhere (Extended mix)
3. Mind Gap (Extended mix)

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Old waves of new wave

Here’s a little something by Neil Arthur and Stephen Luscombe, alias Blancmange, and for once it’s not “Living On The Ceiling”, which is a good record but seriously overplayed. Instead, here’s the follow-up single “Waves”, a sort-of ballad which was fairly heavily reworked for the single release, with sometime Real Thing and Billy Ocean collaborator Lynton Naiff providing a lush string arrangement. Also here is the original stringless album version, and the B-side “Business Steps” which is a rather throwaway instrumental commisioned by a dance company.

Link: Blancmange – Waves (single version)
Link: Blancmange – Business Steps
Link: Blancmange – Waves (album version)

And here’s a bonus track. This was the new song recorded for their 2012 “Very Best Of” collection. Not sure if they’re trying to be The Streets (it doesn’t work if they are), but it’s quite a fun song…

Link: Blancmange – Making Aeroplanes (Without Victoria)

EDIT: A week after I posted this, DJ Paul T put up a high-quality rip of the “Waves” 12″ on his Burning The Ground blog. For the best version of these tracks (and a rare 12″ bonus track!), I recommend you visit that. And actually, just go visit that blog anyway, it’s ace.

 

Not as good as Orlando

Here’s the 1996 calling-card single by Sexus, the romo-connected synthpop duo of David Savage (voice) and Paul Southern (instruments). Southern Savage would have been a good name, actually.

Whatever happened to them? Oh, the usual story: bad deals, label meddling, not getting paid… they did re-emerge a while later as Psychodelicates and while they don’t seem to have been active for about a decade, their website still exists at http://www.psychodelicates.com.

Link: Sexus – The Official End Of It All (password: salad)

1. The Official End Of It All
2. Longing Without Belonging
3. King Of The Fairground Swing
4. The Official End Of It All (Hi-Lux Not Enough Clothes Mix)

Tunes from my shoebox #2: Back to the Eighties!

shoebox

An ordinary shoebox looks like this. MY shoebox is much better than this one, though.

Dipping into my shoebox of backup discs again, I pick out one dedicated to acts beginning with S, V and Y. They just happened to combine to make the right sort of total to fill a DVD-R.

The S folder contains a subfolder called “1980s”. It contains tracks from the 1980s. Given my haphazard filing system, this is not as obvious as it should be. Here are some tracks retrieved from that subfolder and its subsubfolders, all 12″ mixes.

Link: The S.O.S. Band – Just Be Good To Me (12″ version)

Later reworked by Beats International as “Dub Be Good To Me” and Professor Green as “Just Be Good To Green”, but the original doesn’t get much of an airing anymore.

Link: Bronski Beat with Marc Almond – I Feel Love / Love To Love You Baby / Johnny Remember Me (12″ version)

I know, Bronski Beat doesn’t start with S. It’s in a folder of various works by Jimmy Somerville. I think by now you should be starting to understand why I can never find the backup I actually want.

Link: Soft Cell – Memorabilia (12″ version)

More Marc Almond, this time in an early Soft Cell classic. Strange to think this was never a hit, when it’s probably better remembered than bona fide smashes like “What” and “Torch”.

Link: Sigue Sigue Sputnik – Success (Dance Mix)

The much-vaunted, little-purchased Stock Aitken Waterman collaboration. The only way this could be more eighties would be to have Selina Scott introducing it.

Link: Spandau Ballet – Lifeline (12″ Dub Mix)

Because Sigue Sigue Sputnik just aren’t uncool enough.