The B52s and the Evolution of the Rock Lobster

From the moment I heard the B52s song Planet Claire I was hooked. When I saw a photo of the band I was in love. The B52s may not be the world’s greatest musicians but, in my eyes, they do deserve the accolade of one of the world’s greatest party bands. While I kind of liked some Punk music I found it alienating and pretty one dimensional. They cleverly took elements of Punk, Surf Rock, Rock n Roll and their own style of Art Pop trash-glam and turned it into something that was 100% fun.

Crossing the Line – Gender Bending Songs of the 70s

Today, i’m featuring three songs from the 1970s that cover the same theme – gender bending. I was a young gay man when these songs hit the charts, and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The gay community of the time lapped them up, which is understandable, but the popularity wasn’t restricted to the underground minority and went on to become international hits.

Cocteau Twins – Beauty Amid the Chaos

I’ve had a bee in my bonnet about doing a proper feature about the Cocteau Twins. I’ve featured a few tracks in the past, but the story behind the band deserves to be examined. Many regard the band as the founders of Dream Pop, with indecipherable vocals against the heavily processed guitars and synths, and embodied the dreamier side of this sub-genre of Alternative Rock. Along with New Order and The Smiths, they were one of the three main pillars of British alternative music of the day.

Mini-Feature – Bubblegum Music – An Acquired Taste:

I nearly didn’t write this article. When I saw a snippet informing me that it was the anniversary of the first Bubblegum Music chart-topper, I almost didn’t follow through. The song was Green Tambourine from The Lemon Pipers, and although not my favourite song of the era, it definitely beat some of the bubblegum crud we were expected to chew on the weekly hit parade. However, when I had a deeper look at this sugary-sweet genre I found it was quite an interesting topic and well worth some blog space.

Mini-Feature – Ultravox

Whenever I hear the song Vienna I have an overwhelming urge to join in and belt out the wonderfully dramatic hook. Dependent on the scenario, this normally results in others joining me, or raised eyebrows and mumbled comments, I’m used to both! By the time the Vienna album was released a lot of water and history had passed under the Ultravox bridge, and today I’ll attempt to take you on a quick trip through the history and background of this remarkable band.

Level 42 – 4 Decades of Excellence

One of the bands from the 80s that always stood out for me is Level 42. The funky jazz feel that they specialized in struck a chord with me from the outset. Today I am taking a few hours break from work to indulge in my favourite hobby and bring you a quick mini-feature about one of the masters of their genre, Level 42.

Mini Feature – Grimes

Grimes is an artist I wasn’t aware of until her name started to be linked to Elon Musk. The fact that she is now married to one of my heroes will have no bearing on today’s mini-feature, but I am certainly happy that something happened to bring her to my attention. This is one very talented artist who achieved her own success long before becoming Mrs Musk.

Mini-Feature – EELS

With a discography spanning 25 years, Mark Oliver Everett’s (aka E) band EELS have explored styles and sounds, building up fans and haters alike. Some find E’s melancholy writings a bit too morbid, but in among the 13 studio albums they have released lay sparks of sheer brilliance, and some of the albums have bucked his normal moody trend and can be regarded as almost uplifting.

Mini-Feature – New Album Round-Up

Three very different new albums crossed my path recently and today I am featuring a track from each. The first is from a band we looked at earlier on this year after the release of their album, the aptly named The Unravelling. I’m talking about Drive-By Truckers.The topics covered were a hard-hitting social commentary about American life at the time.

Mini-Feature – Vampire Weekend

The replicating of the group’s blog archives for our new site is progressing well and as I read through the hundreds of mini-features I am blown away by how much information I’ve shared over the last 15 months. Today’s ‘share from the vault’ is an article I wrote about one of my favourite bands of recent years, Vampire Weekend. Their Father of the Bride album found its way onto my daily playlist and I am happy to re-share this mini-feature with you all.

Mini-Feature – Alanis Morissette

I have a conflicting like for Alanis Morissette’s music. I think she’s a superb singer/songwriter who touches on very awkward topics that tend to pick the emotional scabs of her devoted following of listeners. And therein lies my conflict. Do I want my emotional scabs picked quite so well?

Mini-Features – Crowded House

I’ve always been a Crowded House fan since first hearing them and was fortunate enough to see them live at the Standard Bank Arena in Johannesburg on their South African tour. Being such an avid follower I was saddened when they disbanded in 2005 and overjoyed when they regrouped for two more albums (2007 and 2010). A few days ago I got the heads-up of a new single, ‘Whatever You Want’ and that sparked today’s theme, Ladies & Gentlemen, Crowded House.

Mini-Feature – The New Radicals

The New Radicals could easily have been included in my recent feature about one-hit-wonders. Although the band were only active for two years the hit single that came from their one album, ‘Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too’ caused quite a furore in the media. Those of you who may not recognise the band’s name will more than likely remember the song ‘You Get What You Give’ which topped the Canadian and New Zealand charts, peaked at #5 in the UK and made the Top 40 in the States.