Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Julia's Song

Orchestral Maneouvres in the Dark's historic concert at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in December 1981 was the first instance when the synth-pop institution landed a gig at a major venue, and also the first time when frontman Andy McCluskey’s endearingly silly geography-teacher-at-the-school-prom dancing got displayed in full (much to his embarrassment several decades later). The oblique "Julia's Song" constitutes a fine example of the band's tight, interlocking live dynamics, with Paul Humphreys's innovative keyboard work, Martin Cooper's understated guitar riffs, Malcolm Holmes's precise percussion rhythms, and McCluskey's passionate, bordering-on-frenetic vocal mannerisms and singularly shapeless dancing.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Perfect Kiss

Of all the diverse video clips New Order have made, the most realised one has to be Jonathan Demme’s promo for "The Perfect Kiss". In it, the four members are shown doing nothing more than performing the synth-pop magnum opus in its full-length, nine-minute entirety in the studio, switching between different instruments at the appropriate moments. While this might sound like a dull in-studio presentation, the video is logically suited, since the song itself features so many separate layers of instrumentation. By showing the band’s performance dynamics at work, Demme has captured the essence of what it is really like being in a professional, tightly wound unit like New Order.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Outbreak of Love

One of the most underrated singles in Midnight Oil's repertoire remains the cinematic, elaborate "Outbreak of Love" from 1993. While this half-forgotten art-rock gem might not aspire to the giddy heights of the veteran agitprop outfit's more well-known standards like "Beds Are Burning" and "Blue Sky Mine", it possesses a certian engaging intensity of its own, although in this instance, the intensity is more personal in nature. Check out the suitably kaledisocopic video clip, featuring some of the most riveting imagery ever found in a Midnight Oil promo.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


An important and historic collabroation between three of Britain's greatest living music legends is the one on 1992's "Disappointed", a joint effort by Pet Shop Boys singer Neil Tennant and supergroup duo Electronic, comprising New Order frontman Bernard Sumner and Smiths guitar wizard Johnny Marr. The song itself is a gleaming, streamlined pop tune that is highly reminiscent of prime-era New Order, and reached a respectable number six on the British charts. Check out a stellar live performance by the dynamic trio on the venerated "Top of the Pops", around the time of the single's original release in June 1992.