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April 19, 1980 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1980-04-19

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The Michigan Daily-Saturday, April 19, 1980-1


A consumer's guide to summer singles

Buying new wave singles used to be a
bit or miss proposition, There was little
m for any middle ground in the
itial punk releases. Today most new
rave singles are a sure bet. One rarely
inds the despicably produced, talen-
tless bands or the uncontrollable
energy and instantaneous highs of the
-- )
:irst wave of self-produced singles.
What we've got now is competent and
interesting but rarely surprising.
re's a greater diversity of sound
available on these singles, from the
reggae-ska revival of Madness to the
technological wallpaper of John Foxx.
Here are some brief descriptions of
the more interesting recent releases.
'Call Me"/"Call Me instrumen
al)"-Blodie (Chrysalis)
This is easily the best song on AM
radio, which of course is next to
eaningless. It's also the best "disco"
b~ y
5 ~
;jdng Blondie has ever done, but it still
doesn't compare to most of the stuff on
iEat to the Beat. Giorgio Moroder's
,,production is problematic; it doesn't
seem like he knows- what to do with
tars. It's nice to hear a disco song
hat can rock too, even if only
"My Perfect Cousin" The Undertones
Continuing their streak of teenage an-
thems, the Undertones score again with
"My Perfect Cousin," an ode to the
most blighted of blood relatives. These
Irish teenagers are refreshingly honest
and straightforward in their use of
hooks both lyrical and musical. This is
"Power pop" without the calculation
and ready-made nostalgia: en-
thusiastic and eager to please.
: please.
"Talk of the Town"/"Cuban
Slide"-The Pretenders (Real)
The A-side is a nice, sensual dance
song ... but only nice. The B-side, on
the other hand, is an immense rhythm
and blues burn that totters constantly
'on the verge of being swamped in the
crush of its own echoed guitars, but
benefits splendidly from that tension.
And, of course, you get the talents of
Chrissie Hynde ,on both cuts, so you
really can't go wrong.
"Trouble in the World/Your Chosen
Life" The Only Ones (Epic)
Here the Only Ones spread out a bit
without sacrificing any of the rocking
recision and intelligence that made
their American debut LP "Special
View" one of last year's best. "Trouble
in the World" puts horns and some

gospel-y background vocals to good use
behind Peter Perrett's nasal insight,
while "Your Chosen Life" pits torrid
blues stroll against the emotional
distapce and casual resignation of the

vocals. A must for fans of Lou Reed and
early David Bowie.
"Goodbye 197's"/"Whatever , Hap-
pened to the West"-Another Pretty
Face (Virgin)
The A-side proves conclusively that
we haven't killed off Billy Joel YET.
The sentim'ental bar band sound of this
tune just begs for some soupy syn-
thesized strings that don't even bother
to show up.
The B-side must have been made by a
different band, though. It still displays
the bar-band sound of the flip in its un-
differentiated production and
disposable solos, but it burns with real
honesty that is every bit as angry as the
cover painting.

"Floorboards" opening stanza: "I
am angry, I'm ill and I'm as ugly as sin.
My irritability keeps me alive and
"Judy in Disguise"/"Chip 'n
Roll"-Silicon Teens (Mute)
So who cares if this is little better
than a novelty song? It's still a great
novelty song. Who else would have
thought of doing a meccanik version of
the greatest on a long line of '60's songs
that you used to always think were
about drugs? Silicon Teens would,
that's who.
The B-side is a slapstick synthesizer
instrumental. If these folks ever put out
an album, they should call it Music for
Automated Racetracks.
"Where's Captain Kirk?"/"Am-
nesia"-Spizzenergi (Rough Trade)
This single is more easily written off
as nothing more than a novelty song.
After many listenings, it's sort of cat-
chy in its own right, though. If they had
even one transporter-beam sound ef-
fect, I wouldn't be so hesitant about
liking it.
"Jurmping Someone Else's Train"/
"I'm Cold"-The Cure (Fic tion)
This is a band of great promise. The
A-side is quite memorable in a hooky
sort of way but still manages to main-
tain a bit of the edge-of-desolation men-

militarism. If you like bands with a
cheery outlook on life, you'll certainly
dig this single.
"The Prime of My Life"/"In My
Room" Human Switchboard (Clone)
This Akron based group's second
release is so dense it takes a few sit-
tings to merely decipher the murky
mix. Subsequent listening reveals a
relentless rhythm track, schizoid
guitar, funky horn charts, and some in-
spired farfisa and background vocals
from one Myrna Marcarian.
Singer/guitarist Robert Pfieffer's
songwriting and Lou Reed-like delivery
are - intriguing, laden with the
frustrations of an overeducated subur-
banite. The B-side "In My Room" is
overly ponderous and passable, but on

on this four-track double single are
more successful.
"Dream Baby Dream"/"Radiation"--
Suicide (Island)
Somewhere in the midst of Suicide's
mutant technology is a real, and
sometimes repulsive, human voice.
Martin Rev's soothing synthesizer
washes and metallic rhythm clicks
combine with Alan Vega's snarling,
slurred vocals for a trance-like am-
bience with shockingly emotional over-
tones. The tension builds through an in-
timidating use of repetition until about
halfway through its 7-minute length, at
which point it begins to dissipate into
conceptual ennui. The B-side is a bit too
derivative of Kraftwerk and Can, but
even only partially successful, these
guys are miles ahead of Gary Numan,
Robin "M" Scott, et al. Maybe Ric
Ocasek's refined production will bring
some attention to these pioneers of a
now-flowering genre.


The next time you
pick up your car keys and
head for the door, ask
yourself whether a phone
call could save you the
trip -and the wasted
For a free booklet
with more easy tips on
saving energy and money
write "Energy," Box 62,
Oak Ridge, TN 37830.
We can't afford
to waste it.

r SaYeah
VW C*Au La*l

ThJe Ann Arbr Film Coopers e Presents at MLB: $1.50
Saturday, April 19
(Hubert Cornfield, 1969) 7:00-MLB 4
This unique, tight tipped little thriller depicts the kidnapping of a dolscent girl by a rather peculiar
quartet of criminals. Marion Brando gives a memorably kinky performance as the blonde and high-
strung leader of the gang; top European cameraman, Will Kurant, captures the dreamlike grey and
marshy tones of the Northern French sea coast, and the entire film is totally redefined by one of the
sharpest twist endings in recent years. RICHARD BOONE, RITA MORENO.
(Elio Kazan, 1955) 9:00-MLB 4
Kazon's adaptation of Steinbeck's novel was the film that turned talented stage-TV actor named James
Dean into a superstar. Dean plays Carl Trask, a confused adolescent searching desperately for lost
love and tenderness, with a gut-wrenching sensitivity that prompted his director to say: "Dean didn't
play Cal, he was Cal," The youth of that period immediately recognized the honesty of his performance
and flocked to the film, making Dean the hottest star of Warner's lot. "In James Dean, today's youth
discovers itself ."-Francois Truffout. With RAYMOND MASSEY. JO VAN FLEET, and TIMOTHY CAREY.
Next Monday: Ffitz Long's THE BIG HEAT and Robert Aldrich's KISS ME
6EADLY at Aud. A. FREE.
Next Tuesday: Francois Truffaut's THE GREEN ROOM and LOVE ON THE RUN
at Aud. A. $1.50.

"Work, Rest, & Play"-Madness (Stiff)
Madness are probably the most con-
sistently enjoyable of the recent spate
of skalrevival bands (including the
Specials), and this 4-tune E.P. is no ex-
ception. All the songs on this disc rock
with Madness' own special brand of
reggae rhythms. The real winner is
"Deceives the Eye," which is a wonder-
fully witty tale about the first arrest of
a teenage shoplifter.
"It's Cold Outside"/"The Last
Year"-Stiv Bators (Bomp)
Who ever would have believed after
seeing the Dead Boys at Second Chance
last month that their vermin-like lead
singer could put out a single as uncom-
promising pop as this one. Still, it's a
more interesting tune philosophically
than musically, as the A-side is a ver-
batim cover of an older song and the B-
side might as well be. A chorus of "this
is the last year of my life" is a cute
idea ... but only for a while.
"Dub/Cool" Pylon (Pylon)
It would appear that the B-52's aren't
the only rock and roll band in Athens,
Ga. On their first self produced effort
Pylon churn out the same riff-oriented
danceability with a rhythm guitar
toughness and urgency alien to the
bouffant rockers. "Micrgphonist" Van-
nessa deserves a prize for the sing-
along chant of the month, "We eat dub
for breakfast!" Solid, catchy, fun
"Ambivalence & Spark Plugs"/"Sub-
merged"-Immune System
It's surprising that I can't think of
much original to say about a single that
I like as much as this one. It's only got
your average double-speed rhythm
guitar, pounding bass, catchy chorus,
and nice-girl-next-dqor on vocals. What
else do you need, I guess. It even comes
With a great button.
"Songs From Under The Floorboar-
ds"/"Twenty Years Ago" Magazine
After listening to ex-Buzzcock
vocalist Howard Devoto's two LPs with
Magazine, I was ready to write the
group off as extra-pretentious Roxy
Music clone. "Floorboards" comes as a
tuneful shock, chugging along nicely
thanks to a throbbing bass line, tasteful
guitar and synthesizer, and Devoto's
wittily self-depreciating lyric. The flip-
side is, ah, a little too arty for this taste
but it does contain some amusing sound
effects. Worth buying if only for

tality of Wire. It's not really weird
enough till the end for my tastes, but
that won't mean much to most
"Happy House'' /"Drop
Dead/Celebration"-Siouxsie and the
Banshees (Polydor)
Quite a surprise from this band who
will always stand out in my mind for
actually recording a version of, the
Beatles' "Helter Skelter" with all of the
sheer terror implied in that song's
repercussions. The A-side starts off
with a sound close to pop-psychedelia
and manages to remain uncom-
promisingly upbeat throughout the
remainder of the side, thus adding to
the benignly threatening Big Brother
tone of the lyrics.
The B-side is more like their album,
The Scream, resplendent in its savage

the strength of "Prime" this is a band
to watch closely.
"Red Frame/White Light"/"I Betray
My Friends"-Orchestral Manoeuvers
This 12-inch single manages to com-
bine a nicely processed synthetic
background with the naked vocal style
and militaristic underpinnings of Wire.
Amidst all that, it's still strangely cat-
The B-side is less of a song tha;n it is
an environment-an electronic desert
landscape, I'd say. This certainly is a
band to watch... and listen to.
"No-one Driving"-John Foxx (Virgin)
This one's not as pretentious as you
might think given Foxx's history as the
leader of the suffocatingly artsy
Ultravox. It's not even as forced as the
Antonin Artaud/painted artist look he
affects on the cover. It's still a Bowie
rip-off, though, borrowingly heavily
from the synthesized orchestral sound
of Heroes. The vocals hiss amidst the
mix, though, and are little more than an
irritation. The nicely textured at-
mospheres of the two instrumetal cuts

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