Lost 80s Friday

Every blog has that special day where, in their retarded delusions of a readership, they get thematic. Here’s my pathetic entry into that new and needless genre: Lost 80s Day. The intention: there’s an indie rock canon, and then there’s the really lost stuff, the quality influences bound to be rediscovered by hipsters any second now. If not, screw em.

Oh, and it’s Good Friday today, so here’s a good joke:
Q: Why do Catholic school girls love Jesus so much?
A: Because he’s hung like this (joke teller makes crucifixtion pose with outstretched arms).

First we have the Mice, an Ohio power pop trio in the vein of the orginal Nerves, but a tad more punk than that, circa early to mid eighties, not much to offer but a great single cd collection, For Almost Ever Scooter. Singer songwriter Bill Fox faded into coffee house folkieness and the rest must have succumbed to the generally brutal ignorance of the Ohio public.

The Mice — Not Proud (of the USA)
The Mice – Public Television

Second, we have the Flying Lizards, best known for their novelty hit “Money,” wherein an accented woman speak-sings the Jerry Lee Lewis-famed “that’s what I want” etc hit over a wonderful bare bones electro beat complete with what sounds like laser beams during the fadeout. Fact is, the Flying Lizards were the front for studio whiz David Cunningham, who saw some retro interest ten years ago, leading to the The Secret Dub Life of the Flying Lizards, from which two of the following tracks were taken. In 1978, Cunningham actually tripped to Jamaica and recorded stuff that went unused, mostly, until he tape manipulated (his specialty) and studio-ized the recordings for this 1995 release.

But understand the dub stuff was a detour; most Flying Lizards material is fascinating and wacky, especially their hard to find (still?) albums, like their self titled debut, a straighforward, fantastic slab of left field eighties electro pop, and Top Ten, as nuts a cover album as ever. Check out the version of Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up.”

This doesn’t begin to cover Cunningham’s career, which included ambient sound experiments, numerous singles under assumed names, and the Flying Lizards chicanery.

The Flying Lizards – Preface
The Flying Lizards — Mute
The Flying Lizards — Move on Up

12 thoughts on “Lost 80s Friday

  1. I’ve heard of these Mice before. Oh wait, I am thinking of the band they are ripping off – the Eastern Dark.

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  2. Hey,The more I think about it, the more slitfork is pissing me off. I mean, no Yo La Tengo in the top 100? President Yo La Tengo is just a wonderful pop drone strum moment. Oh yeah, and there was this band called the Field Mice that just put out gorgeous pop records. And of course, Bob Mould, Workbook.

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  3. And of course, there was this little known band called Pavement. Slanted and Enchanted and Crooked Rain could have both made the top ten snitchfork list.

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  4. Maybe Slanted, but not Crooked. Pavement’s way overrated – one Great album (slanted) two good (Brighten the Corners and Crooked) one mediocre(Wowee Zowee) and one awful awful ass gravy album (their last).

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  5. You know, Pavement’s EPs and collected stuff (Westing etc) have always intrigued me even more – my fave song is “unseen power of the picket fence,” silly as it is, but really an angry piss-take at REM, and their best melody, too

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  6. Hate to be a pedant, but…The Mice: first release: 1985The Eastern Dark: first release: 1985.No-one was ripping anyone off. Call it a trans-global coincidence of influences. Hell, we only heard Husker Du for the first time a month or two before our demise, but I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been told we were ripping them off. And had that first Mice EP made it to our ears earlier than ’86, we probably woulda been covering one of their tunes. But we didn’t. I did love their records, though.cheers,BG (ex-ED)

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  7. Thanks for not only setting the record (s) straight, as only a person who was there can do, Mr. Gibson, but also thanks for honoring us with yr presence on the site. Much appreciated. We get a little music-geeky here, and I should more often consider ‘ripoff’ as a weak and accusatory term. We throw it around too much, but we’re at least passionate. You know, someday I’m going to list the amazing amount of transglobal Australian/NZ / US influence-coincideces, if only because the US hogs the limelight for innovation credit. For example, the Ramones and the Saints — same thing, same time. Saints get hardly mentioned over here, save in real punk fan circles, and usually only if you’re over 30 yrs old. Any 19 yr old can cite the Ramones. And so on, wiht Radio Birdman, etc.

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