UNDER THE RADAR: Micachu & The Shapes – “Sea Air”


UNDER THE RADAR: Micachu & The Shapes – “Sea Air”.

Indie-pop experimenter Mica Levi has been off in the film-score universe for a while, but her band Micachu & The Shapes are about to return with the new album “Good Sad Happy Bad” (is out 9/11 on Rough Trade).

Micachu & The Shapes have shared a new video for ‘Sea Air’. Featuring the intense slow-motion gaze of the band’s drummer Marc Pell, the clip was made by James and Mark Hankin.

THIS IS OUR MUSIC: Bauhaus – “In The Flatfield”


THIS IS OUR MUSIC: Bauhaus – “In The Flatfield”.

Shuddering and exploding with uncontrolled rock energy and rage, “In the Flat Field,” perhaps even more so than the celebrated “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” captured the spirit of early Bauhaus better than any other song.

One of the first tracks from the album of the same name, it’s at once a prodigious display of the individual members’ talents and a unified performance of striking strength. 

THIS IS OUR MUSIC: The Stranglers – “Strange Little Girl”


THIS IS OUR MUSIC: The Stranglers – “Strange Little Girl”.

”Strange Little Girl” is one of those little gems that was released as a single but was not included on any proper Stranglers albums and have a tendency to fall into obscurity over the years.

The song was released in July of 1982 and returned them to the top ten of the U.K. singles charts where they had been less than a year before with the smash, ”Golden Brown”. Perhaps more than any other track in The Stranglers repertoire, ”Strange Little Girl” conjures a heavy Doors influence, the title itself brings to mind, ”Your Lost Little Girl”. 

Much like The Doors, the music features prominent keyboards, flowing softly to singer Hugh Cornwell’s velvety vocal and has that same dreamy quality that typified many Jim Morrison ballads. But this is no rip-off, only a loosely shared vibe as The Stranglers put the same melodic touch that made ”Golden Brown” such a major success to work here as well. This recording is more relaxed than it’s predecessor but has a similar staid beauty, smoothed by sparkling production with gently echoed bass notes, tingling bells and soft clicking cross stick percussion support the a steady flurry of arpeggio keyboard runs.

THIS IS OUR MUSIC: X – “Johnny Hit And Run Paulene”


THIS IS OUR MUSIC: X – “Johnny Hit And Run Paulene”.

X’s first album is more notable for the potential it indicates than for the promise it realizes, yet it has a number of very bright spots — not bright as in happy and poppy, but bright like burning magnesium.

The band’s speed, sartorial sensibility and nervous aggression were decidedly punk rock, but its tightness and musical sensitivity (even in the early days) were a tacit challenge to the punk scene’s prevailing ethos of D.I.Y. sloppiness, as were the country influences that would eventually come to the surface. 

Then there were the lyrics, which, in the case of ”Johnny Hit and Run Paulene”, dealt with sexual politics from what was then an unusual perspective: the song is a disgusted critique of a serial rapist who doesn’t seem to consider himself such, and who is surprised when he awakes after a sexual binge to find that he’s killed someone.

The song is driven by a spare punkabilly beat and its title constitutes the entirety of its terse chorus. The musical juxtapositions are complex, despite the surface simplicity of the song: John Doe and Exene Cervenka’s plaintive, open harmonies against its relatively flat melodies; Billy Zoom’s joyful Chuck Berry-inspired guitar solo against the song’s foreboding chord progression; the way that Johnny progresses from obliviousness to death at the beginning of the song to incomprehension of it at the end. Sex, death and guilt — and you thought all the Catholic iconography was a coincidence?

IN CONCERT: Lords of the New Church • Holy War (Live at the Marquee Club – Full Show)


IN CONCERT: Lords of the New Church • Holy War (Live at the Marquee Club – Full Show).

“The Lords of the New Church perform with almost religious zeal in their new ‘Live From London’ concert video. Their exciting new style combines the raw essence of rock n’roll with the metal intensity of the 80’s.
The Lords sing 15 great songs from their 3 albums: Lords of the New Church, Is Nothing Sacred, and the newest release Method to Our madness. This video captures the essence of the Lords: a raucous bunch of radical outlaws preaching a musical message of decadence and pleasure”.

This Live Performance by The Lords of the New Church is known by two different names, I believe. Holy War (1984. VHS. Hendring. HEN 2 196) or Live From London (DVD, Warner Music Vision, 2004).
But I transferred this concert from a VHS tape, officially released by RCA Columbia Pictures (MUSIC VISION) in 1984.

Set List
New Church
Eat your heart out
Living on Living
Dance with me
Johnny Too Bad
Russian Roulette
Bad Timing
Live For Today
Open Your Eyes
Black Girl, White Girl
Partner in Crime
Going Down Town
You Really Got Me
Little Boys Play with Dolls
Holy War

Running Time: 60 Mins