The B-52s - “Mesopotamia”
I consider this song the ultimate B-52s track, and its slinky rhythms and catchy, inane chorus about the beginnings of civilization are perfect for summertime play. This song along with five others comprise the remaining material of what was intended as a third album. The David Byrne-helmed recording sessions were, ultimately, not successful and the band released the output from their scrapped project as an EP. With a song this amazing, it makes you wonder what other brilliance could have resulted from their Byrne collaboration if they had been willing to see it through without murdering one another.
Future Islands - Nu Autobahn
Future Islands are a two year old, Baltimore-based band from North Carolina without a Wikipedia entry. This track is self-released off their debut EP. I saw them perform at a small venue last night and wow! When they started playing, the stage was a vacuum. If you don’t believe me, check out last night’s video of this song. Yeah, that’s the singer right there in the middle of it all. The sound was so dancin’ happy. If Animal Collective could breed with the Unicorns, you might get Future Islands. The official release of Future Island’s first full length album Wave Like Home is in July. This album is already self-released, but I didn’t stay around long enough to get it. I will see them again in August.
Billy Idol - “Eyes Without a Face”
Known for his “rebel yell”, his lippy snarl, and that dangerous mixture of peroxide and leather, Billy Idol soon became a caricature of the 80s bad boy once the decade passed. Yet, those songs that aren’t so reliant on the cartoonish persona remain fresh and timeless.
Inspired by a French horror film of the same name, the dreamy new-wave ballad “Eyes Without a Face” is one of those songs that never goes out of style. When Mr. Idol puts his fists down and his lips uncurl, he’s capable of making beautiful pop songs.
Santogold - L.E.S. Artistes
Some might think it odd that Tuneage has made no mention of Santogold yet, given all the hype, but measures had to be taken to ensure it lived up to the hype, and the official Tuneage diagnosis is that it does.
So here’s L.E.S. Artistes, the second single off Santogold’s self-titled debut, which came out last week in the US (you’ll have to wait a couple of weeks if you’re in the UK with me).
And once you’re finished with this post, I recommend heading over to RCRD LBL’s website, where they’ve got an exclusive Santogold track that’s not on the album.
Level 42 - Something About You
This lesser-known 80s gem brings spontaneous joy to me wherever I hear it: on the car radio, in a convenience store, while shopping at a crappy retail chain, while pleasantly buzzed at bar karaoke. There’s something ineffably upbeat about it. Even though the halcyon days of my childhood are past, this song somehow promises that the best is yet to come.
Altered Images - Don’t Talk to Me About Love
I find this confection by 80s new wavers, Altered Images, near irresistible. Maybe you will too.
Lead vocalist Clare Grogan sounds like she’s on helium at a high school dance that is equal parts disco and doo-wop. When I hear this song, I feel like my whole world should be colored in shades of glaring neon pink.
Sometimes your world needs a little neon and helium because, really, what’s a party without them?
XTC - Earn Enough For Us
This song appears on Skylarking, which was released in 1986. Some see the album as a concept album about life. There is an order to the album, and each song represents a different part of the life cycle. True? False? I’m not really sure, but I can totally see the progression.
We got into a pretty massive discussion about XTC at work yesterday, so I was inspired to post this song. This song is certainly my favorite off the album. Despite having so many influences, this album sounds like nothing I’ve heard before. Enjoy!