On my recent trip back to PA, as I talked with old friends, they seemed to all mutually lament listening to the same songs over and over, because they’ve locked into to a particular sound that they like, and which has long past. Fortunately, there exists an internet, and my buddy Luc and I have made hobbies of personal archaeology; the fine science of mining your past to extrapolate where you will be. Along the way, we find new-old music, which is old, but new to us. Some of these bands saw success, and some not enough. If you know them, great! If not, there’s still a chance for you to explore without having the leave the comfort of your Comfort Zone.
In 1988, the broken remnants Heart found the survivors of Sheriff, and realizing that they needed each other, they performed the Fusion Dance, combining all of their powers and abilities in to one supergroup, Alias. To be honest, this was Luc’s suggestion, and not mine. I include it because his 80′s music knowledge has always exceeded my own, and I kneel to his skill. I need to familiarize myself with Alias, but I can see why he brought it up:
9) Shooting Star
You’ve probably never heard of Shooting Star, and there is literally no reason for that.
They recorded five albums and toured almost constantly for ten years; opening for ZZ Top, Cheap Trick, Jefferson Starship, REO Speedwagon, John “Cougar” Mellencamp, Kansas, Heart, Bryan Adams and motherfuckin’ Journey. Also, they were pretty cool dudes. I mean, look:
As in the words of Our God-Emperor, ”Some will win, some will lose; some were born to sing the blues.” But what more could they do? After all they not transcendent master-men like Him, but only flesh and blood:
Well, there is one place for those mere mortal humans, who are born to make mistakes…
8) The Human League
The Human League laughed in the face of convertional wisdom, which stated that you needed proper instruments to make a hit songs, instead of a chintzy drum machine and an ass-ton of keyboards. Shows what they know…
Though they were big in the UK, their renown never crossed the pond. Still, they are the first purely electronic band to conquer the mainstream, which paved the way for entire movements in music. This is the primordial ooze that would eventually give rise to techno, trance, and dubstep. However along another evolutionary path came…
7) Talk Talk
If you were British and had three or more identical friends, you had a band. It was that simple. There were literally hundreds of Brit sythpop all fighting to become the new Duran Duran, but most if not all fell short, and became Pet Shop Boys. That’s why to stand out and reiterate who they were, Talk Talk made their title track, their debut album, and themselves all Talk Talk.
Despite the mnemonic, they were forgotten, which is a shame. They are best known for It’s My Life, but even then, that was only after it was covered by No Doubt. Still, there was a time when it seems that any five blokes with some keyboards and a camcorder could become legit. Music is less democratic today, and that’s kind of sad, but that’s just how things are today.
Okay, so you haven’t truly missed out, because they’re still hungry. This is Luc’s band and everything he does has that special hint of 80′s-flavored awesome. Recall, this is the dude who rigged an Atari 2600 to run on a flat-panel TV, and then proceeded to beat E.T. in 4 minutes.
That is not a comical exaggeration. There were witnesses.
As you can see, they have a very Iron Maiden-y sound. They’re playing live at The Crooked I on January 31, so climb into your passenger ICBM and get to the 814, post-haste.
Giant was another tragic failure-to-launch, having recorded two albums, and earned enough exposure to become branded as one-hit-wonders… but they have a number of impressive B-sides.
I just now realized that most of the people who will probably read the crap that I write have no concept of B-sides, since they grew up with CDs. Son of the bitch, now I’m depressed. Fortunately, I can always cheer myself up again with Giant.
4) Jesus H Christ and the Four Hornsmen of the Apocalypse
JHCat4HotA bills themselves as being “a New York-based, eight-piece rock/pop/punk/folk/metal/cabaret band.” They aren’t a novelty or comedy band per se, and it’s not that they aren’t serious about music, but they’ve carved a quirky-jokey nitch for themselves.
They’re on iTunes, show some love.
Pay attention now, because this is how women are supposed to act:
Back in the day Vixen was immediately dismissed as an unoriginal and derivative knock-offs…but recall, the same was also said about Soundgarden. However, that was because the music industry had yet to belt out so much awful crap. We didn’t know what bad really was, and because of this skewed perception, we were far too hard on Vixen. It turns out they were so talented that they could even make child prostitution sound good. No, seriously:
In addition, their drummer has a drum kit on her motorcycle. I don’t think those are legal in Pennsylvania, which makes them even cooler. Vixen channeled the often-forgotten convention of using little-used letters in your band name to sound more exotic and memorable. Vixen uses the most underused letters per capita since my buddy Bugsy Mac’s hair metal band, Wycked Lyxx.
2) Winter Rose
There was once a Canadian glam-metal band called Hope, and later Sebastian, to serve as a vehicle for their frontman, Sebastian Bach. However — he left his own band, named after him — to pursue more fruitful ventures. Distraught, they frantically searched for a new singer, and eventually found some guy named James LaBrie, actually, you might have heard of him, come to think of it. In 1989, they made one CD, and were promptly forgotten.
It was amazing.
It still is amazing, and it is the exemplar of the glam-metal genre.
Icehouse is prescription strength 80′s cheese, and it is not recommended for the staunchy, or bogus. If you can watch this video for 30 seconds without smiling, then you are a deplorable person who beats off to Ayn Rand. Please die. Please.
This is probably one one of the most awesome videos ever, simply due to Icehouse’s earth-shattering self-confidence. If you saw guys like these playing at a hotel barroom or swap meet, you’d feel ashamed for them. But no, not Icehouse. They don’t give a shit about you or what you think, since they are completely enthralled with that chick in the dress. Moxie, they have it, and they are loving their lives. Viewed through this lens, they are quite legit, with a quiet power that slowly begins to resonate within you: