Friday, August 12, 2005

Play That Funky Friday Music, White Boys

When I started down the whole "classic 12"s" road a few weeks ago I had intended it to cover a broader time frame. It ended up going all baggydelic, so I was left with a couple of mp3 rips that didn't fit the theme. Today's post is dedicated to a couple of early '80s classics...

gang of four thompson twins

When the Gang Of Four released Songs Of The Free in 1982, it was the beginning of the end for their fans. It was a blatant attempt to move the band into the mainstream, smoothing out a lot of the old rough edges and turning down the guitars a bit. I loved it. It was the album that introduced me to the band, and it made me the fan I still am today. The lyrics were just as cutting as always, but the groove that had always been there was now more of the focal point. Lead single I Love A Man In Uniform (12" Version) is the perfect summation of the old and new colliding. I love the words, the thick ass bass, those sharp angular riffs, and the gloriously soulful back up vocals all matched up with perfect disco thump. I still think this tune is one of the best things they ever did, and I can't wait to hear the re-recorded version that will be coming out September 20th on new album Whitey's Gift. It's one CD of re-recorded classics with a second disc of covers and remixes by some current bands - Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Ladytron, Hot Hot Heat, the Dandy Warhols, the Others, Amusement Parks on Fire, Faultline, the Rakes, Phones, Go Home Productions, and Tony Kanal of No Doubt. That is going to be some seriously good shit.

In 1981 the Thompson Twins were still a full fledged band, 6 or 7 strong. They were an indie rock group that were flirting with synths and Afro polyrhythms. My first exposure to them was the 12" single for Make Believe (Let's Pretend), a tune that I found to be incredibly catchy. Of course it failed to be a hit, the band went on to jettison all of it's members save the core three, and global chart domination through synthpop ensued. Now, I love that stuff too, but the oldies are where my heart really lies - and they've aged a lot better than the synthy stuff has! This song has a great, driving beat, super springy bass riffage, lots of nice controlled clipped guitar riffing, and yes, sitars and some kind of mantra chant thing. Sounds like it might be dreadful but I like it, especially the dance-y break bit towards the end - tight and funky. A memorable lost classic of the new wave era.

7 comments:

John said...

I know you and I are the only people who LOVE "Is It Love", too?

Am I right?

Michael said...

I freakin' love that song - especially the big strings on it! I like the rest of that album too...

4ears said...

Great been looking for that GOF track for ages.

Paulo X said...

Thanks for the tracks, Michael!

You wouldn't have the b-side to "I Love a Man in Uniform", would you?

Just wondering...

Anonymous said...

thanks for Gang of four's I Love a man...
I was wondering if you have (heard)
ROBERT HAZARD'S "chain reaction"?
it's a greeat track i've been looking for
thanks again

OZZy from Lima

Anonymous said...

Very cool, I'm going to see Gang of Four at the end of September. I last saw 'em in the late 1980s!

Anonymous said...

Hey can you reupload the Gang of Four track? I'd love to hear it.