Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Cleaning Out the Corners - Featuring Fluffy, Flock of Seagulls, Face to Face, and the Dream Academy

Another installment of the column where we weed through the piles of vinyl in my office together to decide what stays and what goes.  Is it a keeper or a tosser?

Chosen randomly from my "To Spin" stacks . .



Fluffy - Nothing b/w Scream (Live at CBGB's) with bonus 7" Nothing (LP version) b/w I'm a Boy

I have no idea who Fluffy are other than four punk chicks who apparently played at least one song at CBGB's.  Yep, that's enough for me to have plunked down $2.50 for this 2x7" set.  So the real question then is . . .are they any good?   And surprisingly, the answer is hell yes.  Nihlistic, minimalist punk is the name of the game here, pounded out in post-old school/Sex Pistols/Ramones vibrancy and passion.  If "Nothing" is the band's theme song, it says it all.  "Now there's/nothing anymore/nothing makes me happy/any more".  And it's a damn good punk burner. "Scream" benefits from the live energy at CBGB's, with the vocals especially more gravelly and dripping with apathy.  "I'm a Boy" rages for 1:51 minutes of pure Pistols-punk fury.  They don't seem to be able to play or sing any better than the Pistols did, but make just as glorious noise.  The live video below, taken from  Top of the Pops in 1998 showed that these girls had the chops, attitude and sneer to make a name for themselves.  I don't know whatever happened to them, but this one will stay with me.  Nice find here.

Verdict - Keeper






Flock of Seaguls - I Ran b/w Pick Me Up

Yeah go ahead and laugh at me.  Make fun of the hair, the awful drum sound, the way-too-processed guitar and the distinctly '80's production.  Go ahead.  I'll still come back and say that "I Ran" is simply one of the most perfect pop songs of the 80's.  It is bizarrely catchy and distinctly addictive.  I'll never forget when I saw these guys for the first time on some random TV show.  I couldn't get passed the hair, the dress, the . . .everything.  But damn, if that song wasn't perfect.  Still is.  Flipside "Pick Me Up"  is also cool.  A bit more angular, choppier.  Has a distinct Devo-vibe, which I dig. What makes it cooler is that it's an original non-album track.  It was included on the 2011 remaster, but not the original LP.  Which means this might be it's only vinyl appearance.  It's snappy, catchy and fun.  And it's staying with me.  You all know "I Ran" so for the video, we'll choose "Pick Me Up"

Verdict: Keeper





Face to Face - Under the Gun b/w Over the Edge

Guess I reached into the '80's area of my "waiting" stack.  Face to Face.  Yeah, heard of them.  Don't really know them.  Based upon this song, don't know that I want to.  There's a good energy to it and the chorus has it's campy charm, but the rest of it reminds me of a real bad attempted rap follow-up to Blondie's "Rapture."  And let's face it, Blondie barely got away with it.  Face to Face doesn't.  Really, kinda painful and way, way dated.

Flipside "Over the Edge" is . . .well . . . no.  Just no.

Verdict: Tosser






The Dream Academy - The Love Parade (Special Limited Edition Double Pack)

The Dream Academy of course reached the heights of the charts with their pastorally beautiful classic 80' s hit, "Life in a Northern Town."  And it is a good song, with a distinctly British countryside charm.  But I remember the rest of the album being rather limp, so I'm kinda surprised to find this in my "to listen" pile.  Don't know where it came from.  Probably paid 50 cents for it and probably picked it up purely because I'm a sucker for any special 7" Double packs.  So, fully expecting to toss this one, I put it on and realize that the main song "The Love Parade" is actually pretty darn good.  The vocal inflections of both male and female voices has a nice Prefab Sprout flavor, and the song runs across a nice melody with a slightly soulful -still-in-a-distinct-British-countryside - way.   Very pleasant surprise

Verdict: Keeper

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