Friday, August 07, 2020

12 Forgotten Classics by Women-Led New Wave Bands: Offshore Edition

Following Doug Brod's epic list of forgotten songs by women-led new wave bands HERE, my friend Brian Ferrari wrote his HERE followed by mine HERE.

Today we have my friend Christopher Schelling's list, which he describes as a "Baker's Dozen (Offshore Edition)." As was the case with the previous two, I concurred with a couple songs (Dolly Mixture, the Primitives), was reminded of a couple I'd completely forgotten (Jane Siberry, Young Marble Giants) and, best of all, learned about a bunch I'd never heard of before.


Fay Lovsky,  'Maggie' (1981) 

Lovsky is a Dutch artist who has been releasing interesting music since 1980 and she's still at it and still good. I didn't know her until a 1996 album that bounces wildly amongst genres and features her on theremin and musical saw. Her '80s output is vast -- tuneful and slightly strange, like Kirsty MacColl if she came from Amsterdam.

Jane Siberry, 'Mimi on the Beach' (1984) 

She's always been genreless but Siberry's early works arguably fall under the new wave banner. This is a three-minute video edit of an eight minute epic, one of her specialties. She should be a Canadian national treasure and she should have had Kate Bush's audience. I can't say I loved the direction she was going by the late '90s but she made five superb albums in a row from 1984-1993 and she has always followed her singular vision.

Hazel O'Connor, 'Writing on the Wall' (1980) 

O'Connor's main claim was starring in :Breaking Glass," a rags-to-riches-to-mental-institution British musical film (produced by Dodi Fayed). She had a credible, strident new wave voice and she wrote all the songs but it doesn't seem to have launched her. I like that this song is over the films's opening credits, a musical number on the filthy underground.

Jo Kennedy, 'Temper Temper' (1982) 

This Australian musical has a couple decent songs but unless my memory is unkind (and I mean, imagine that), it's a really bad movie. Shockingly, it was Gillian Armstrong's second film, after "My Brilliant Career." I guess this character was supposed to be a Cyndi Lauper-type, and the plot is about prize money in a singing contest, very much like a Brady Bunch episode. There was also a cute bouncy number that was a minor U.K. hit.

Martha & the Muffins, 'Echo Beach' (1980) 

Canadian one-hit wonders. The song got some decent U.S. airplay back in the day -- maybe enough that it doesn't count as "forgotten." I looked them up a few years ago and they'd reformed and recorded a children's Christmas song and...well, I stopped looking. But this is a classic.

The Primitives, 'Crash' (1988) 

1988 is too late for new wave purists but try and tell me this isn't classic new wave melody and production minus the synths. Plus the singer's name is Tracy Tracy. Deal sealed. The song had a life on the "Dumb & Dumber" soundtrack and the band put out solid jangly Brit pop into the '90s.

Les Calamites, 'Velomoteur' (1987) 

This girl group, the "French Go-Go's" if their own press was to be believed, had a grittier sound in the mid-'80s, but they were definitely descendants of the ye-ye girls from the '60s. I thought I'd found a cool international girl group until a French guy told me, "It's a song about riding around on a moped. It's for 12-year-old girls."

Algebra Suicide, 'True Romance at the World's Fair' (1982) 

It's more "Laurie Anderson-esque spoken word over drum machine and guitar drone" than "song" but clocking in at 1:39, it fit neatly at the end of many a new wave mix tape. (Speaking of tapes, the initial graphic for the YouTube video is of a Trouser Press cassette sampler I had that came in a can. It would probably be worth something in mint condition now but instead I played the hell out of it and it brought a different kind of wealth.) The broad Chicago accent is its own music, especially in this rare live clip.

Young Marble Giants, 'Final Day' (1980) 

Technically post-punk not new wave, this Welsh band released one album and broke up before I ever knew of them. Kurt Cobain loved the album and Hole later covered one of their songs. It's stark and minimalist with a lot of dark gems under two minutes.

The Revillos, 'Bitten by a Love Bug' (1984) 

Originally formed as the Rezillos in Edinburgh, there was a clear B-52's feel to their punk sound. The lead guitarist and songwriter left and eventually became part of the Human League, and the Rezillos rebranded as the Revillos with an extra dose of '60s girl group.

Dolly Mixture, 'Miss Candy Twist' (1983) 

Janglepop girl group Brit new wave. They were named for a U.K. candy assortment of gumdrops and gross things that look decades old. I'm sure we had a disgusting counterpart but I hope it disappeared with the 20th century. Anyway, sweet song.

Karen Marks, 'Won't Wear It for Long' (1981) 

Another one who's barely known outside her native Australia, Marks is credited as their first female new wave artist but she disappeared shortly after releasing one album, the appropriately titled "Cold Cafe."

Canadian geek honorable mention: 

Eva Everything,  'Boob Tube' (1984) 

I doubt this was even a hit in her homeland, where they probably weren't ready for a tamer, blonde, brightly-colored Lena Lovich. Pretty sure this came up once in a Jane Siberry search.

Follow Christopher on Twitter HERE and read his hilarious posts on Medium HERE.


Jack said...

What a great time for music!

JimmyD said...

STARSTRUCK is still one of my top 10 favorite movies! Not a guilty pleasure, but genuinely delightful. The soundtrack is solid. Never been released on CD. A friend digitized my LP perfectly so I've had it with me whenever I need a fix!
The video posted is THE one I uploaded to YouTube!!