The Ides Have It

By shane

Ah, the Ides of March. What the hell IS an ide, anyways? I need to become a more literary person. (sigh... teach ME to listen to Ride all day when I damn well SHOULD have my nose in a book... ah well.)

Anyway, it's March. Which means... finally... that we're going to see some decent releases pop up ('allo Blur, 'allo Olivia Tremor Control, 'allo Underworld.) These past two months have, as per usual, been all but unbearable in terms of new music. I understand the fact that after the Christmas season, there's bound to be a bit of a lull in terms of new releases -- if you've got an album in the can, then by all means you should try to release it at the holidays, not directly afterwards. But should this lull last two full months? This gets ridiculous.
But enough of me whining -- my friends have already heard it, and I'm not up for recycling it to you once again. What I've got on the agenda this month is a bit of a different matter. I'm about to try and sort out some GOOD that may come out of this recent lull.

What did I do over the past two months of nothing-new-to-talk-about? The next logical step... backwards. Time to get on the groovy train and set the controls for the heart of yesteryear. Time to dig on tunes not unearthed since Shane was a geeky, wee music nerd (as opposed to today's geeky, not-so-wee music nerd ways.) Next stop: Sentimental Street.


What else is there to do through the long nights of January and February than pull out some TALK TALK. What I initially thought to be the world's greatest studying music has grown with me into the world's greatest let's-have-a-mellow-night music. Talk Talk are one of those bands that should have been forced against their will to make music routinely and for as long as possible. I recently picked up the TT video compilation, only to find out that one of my personal heroes, Mark Hollis, actually looks remarkably like John Ritter from time to time.

Darn you to heck, Chrissy Comley, for bringing up DURAN DURAN with me on the phone recently. Because of that phone call, and a rather hefty tax return this year, I went on a needless-shopping binge (not defined as "shopping needlessly" but rather "shopping for needless items,") and wouldn't ya know it, I came home with a spanky new copy of "Seven and the Ragged Tiger" on CD. Why why why why why... Easy -- I was (gulp) a Durannie. Which I'm pretty sure statistically had a lot to do with my lack of girlfriends in junior high. You'd think that my mom would have worried when I started hanging pictures of Nick Rhodes about my room, and perhaps she did. But yes, Virginia, I ended up heterosexual after all. I guess more than anything, I envied Duran Duran. They got to ride on cool boats in tropical locales, they had supermodel girlfriends, they got to make the "Girls on Film" video -- which EVERY kid I knew had on tape. There were several memorable "don't-let-the-parents-see-THIS" cinematographic moments from the 80's: Phoebe Cates coming out of the pool in "Fast Times"... the shower scene in "Porky's"... but NOTHING beat the ice cube in the "Girls on Film" video. When I was 13, Duran Duran WERE rock and roll. I actually remember trying to assimilate their song lyrics into modern life... walking around, thinking to myself that "you know, my head IS full of chopsticks, but I gotta like it." Heavy stuff, man.

The MIGHTY LEMON DROPS are another that've been getting a much-deserved replay this month. It really isn't until listening in retrospect to "Happy Head" that you really get that the Inspiral Carpets pretty much stole their entire schtick from the Lemon Drops. Of course, THEY stole it from the Doors in the first place, so I don't know how much credit they're deserved at all. But they put out some seriously fun records regardless, and they're well worth tracking down in the ol' used shoppes.

Anyone remember CURIOSITY KILLED THE CAT? This re-tread comes courtesy Dennis Miller, who actually referenced them the other night on his HBO show, making me promptly pull out "Keep Your Distance" and wax nostalgic. I remember seeing the singer from the Cat (Ben?) and thinking that he was single-handedly the coolest guy alive -- always wearing a beret and chain-smoking (ooh, the rebel.) I remember the "Misfit" video (which I believe was the last video Andy Warhol directed before he died,) and its spoof on the Bob Dylan hold-up-the-lyric-cue-cards concept. Classy stuff, and "Keep Your Distance" STILL sounds alright today.

Speaking of bands with hats, I bet that not too many people out there recall the JoBOXERS, who looked SO stunningly cool in their matching caps that I vowed then and there to somehow find a similar cap and wear it every day. Of course, I'm a mutant and wear a size XXXL hat (my head's big to hold in my massive brain, you see) so it wasn't until I was in college that I actually found one, and sure enough, wore it every day for years until it essentially disintegrated. Oh, and they had a couple good songs, too. Almost ruined for life when Samantha Fox covered one of their singles, but recently hearing "Just Got Lucky" put me in a mood for the album. THE album -- there's only one. Best of luck finding it.

While searching for the JoBoxers album in my vinyl collection, I also happened upon the first FUZZBOX album. Yowza. I was really, really, really, really, really tremendously in love with all of Fuzzbox. Well, all of them except the tall one. A punk band of teenaged girls -- what more did a turn-of-the-pubescence lad need? Plus, it was nice to obsess over girls with Mohawks -- did wonders for my mom's mental state. And, darn it, "Love is the Slug" is still better than anything Kenickie ever tried. Beware the second "we've taken a few years off and have decided that the future is to become a slightly more rockin' all female Sigue Sigue Sputnik" sophomore album, "Big Bang." Less than good.

Which leads me to my one true obsession of the late 80's: THE PRIMITIVES. Now, I'm not gonna dwell on the Primitives -- that's Stuart's job (and maybe I'll coerce him in print one day to tell the "Tracey Tracey used the magical powers of her mighty tongue to cause my dead pen to miraculously function" story.) But until that day, suffice that Tracey Tracey was, indeed, my Holy Grail of Indiedom for far too long a time (I had a subway poster of her face on my wall until just last year, in fact.) I still love each and every Primitives record. Period.

There've been others over these past couple of months: The Trash Can Sinatras (something about winter makes me realize that "Cake" is one of the best albums ever made,) The Style Council (the early stuff is brilliant - Paul Weller meeting old school rapping makes for the kind of comedy you just can't find nowadays,) The High (the Manchester band that SHOULD'VE broken right beside the Roses, but instead got strangely left by the wayside,) and countless others as I sift through the antique CD's in the back of my collection.

The point is: Don't get discouraged by a couple of "down months" in terms of news and new releases. We're gearing up for a pretty massive spring. Use this time to fill in some holes in your CD collection (why life seems strangely easier to cope with once the complete Echo and the Bunnymen catalogue is procured escapes me, but it somehow DOES.)

On a totally unrelated note, I'd like to conclude by welcoming our new columnists aboard the new Excellent Online. Dean Carlson has been a member of our mailing list for some time, and I've pretty much spent the past year doing my very, very best to avoid openly calling him a twat in public -- a feat that's instead been handled by our infamous back and forth bantering on the EO Mailing List. His John to my Paul, his Damon to my Liam, his Biggie to my Tupac -- we're pretty much opinionally challenged. And that's exactly why we asked him to start writing for us. A brilliant, incredibly funny bloke that just happens to be on the other side of the dial from me, be sure to check his column out monthly. Chrissy Comley, our other columnist addition, is a recent recruit to the EO Mailing List who hails from Texas (where the stars at night shine big and bright, I'm told.) Her personal website's chock full o' original thoughts, online journals, vacation photos to Wal-mart, and toilet plungers, which immediately makes her ace in our book. She gets the rather unfortunate job of being our token female -- we'll do our best to try and leave the seat down. Welcome aboard, and I'm sure you'll have as much fun reading them as I do.

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