Thomas Leer – ‘Letter From America’ US double album (Cachalot Records / Cherry Red, A RIPE 1, 1982)

January 14th, 2022

‘Letter From America’ is a double vinyl compilation album and cassette released in the US in 1982 that gathered together all of the tracks from two of the wonderful Thomas Leer’s original UK releases for Cherry Red records, the ‘4 Movements’ four track 12″ EP and the ‘Contradictions’ 2 x 12″ album, in a sleeve that adapted the Matisse cut-outs inspired design of the ‘4 Movements’ EP.

Thomas Leer - 'Letter From America' US double LP - front sleeve design

^ Thomas Leer – ‘Letter From America’ US double LP – front sleeve design

The ‘4 Movements’ 12″ EP had been my entry point – specifically, the track ‘Tight As A Drum’, which I had heard played on the BBC Radio 1 John Peel show one night, August 1981. It sounded amazing – such a busy, unique sound and structure, its no surprise that that track in particular has had something of a renaissance by its inclusion on various post-punk compilations over the years. The sound has movement alright – like it’s been plugged into the voltage and animated into life as some form of echoing dub that is both coming and going at the same time. Read the rest of this entry »

Year by Year: Cocteau Twins – 1985

January 7th, 2022

1985 was a year in which Cocteau Twins played around with expectations a good bit, perhaps randomly, but perhaps also a reaction to how close they had sailed to the mainstream the year before with the successes of ‘Pearly Dewdrops’ Drops’ and ‘Treasure’. Starting off their main releases for the year with a single/EP release, by year’s end the band released what most likely would have ordinarily been issued as an album as two separate 12” EPs instead. Meanwhile, exclusive versions of existing tracks would keep on coming on compilation releases. Plus, the band’s first ever compilation of choice cuts from their back catalogue – albeit one that was intended to gather up single tracks, obscurities and album tracks rather than anything as obvious as a singles or ‘best of’ collection.


Electronic Soundmaker and Computer Music – magazine and compilation cassette – February 1985 issue

A real obscurity this one – since the magazine contained an interview with the band, somewhat reluctantly mulling over the previous year’s ‘Treasure’ album, the accompanying cover-mounted cassette contained one of the band’s tracks, ‘Otterley’ – a different, more basic version compared to the album mix by the sound of it… this text is from the magazine;

Featured on our cassette this month is an original version of Otterley, the second to last track on the album. I wondered whether that too began with a drum track.

Simon: “No, that one didn’t. There was a click. It was an open tuning that began it.”

Robin: “All there is on it, in fact I think this might illustrate what I mean by treating and mucking about with instruments, when you hear this particular version, all there is on it is two tracks of guitar, one track of bass and one track of percussion. We only used four tracks. I like to create a sort of space, but not through sort a’ not playing a lot…”

Sadly, I have yet to come by this cassette – anyone out there with a copy?


NME Readers’ Poll Winners ‘84 7” EP (NME, GIV 1)

Side One:

  1. Bronski Beat: ‘Hard Rain’
  2. Cocteau Twins: ‘Ivo’ (New Version)

Side Two:

  1. The Smiths: ‘What She Said’ (Live Version)
  2. U2: ‘Wire’ (Dub Mix)
NME 1984 Poll Winners EP - side 1

^ NME 1984 Poll Winners EP – side 1

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Janice Long, 1955-2021

December 28th, 2021

Sad news for Christmas Day this year, learning of the death of Janice Long. I grew up listening and finding out about so many great acts from BBC Radio 1’s evening and weekend shows and Janice Long was one of the key DJs that made a big difference. She had great taste and brought a genuine enthusiasm and warm-hearted humour to proceedings that was a welcome relief from many others. It comes as no surprise to learn of so many wonderful tributes from many of the well-known acts she met along the way. If you are unfamiliar with her, I recommend a 33 minute primer courtesy of the Radio 1 Vintage series that was produced in 2018 and featured a Janice Long compilation.

BBC Radio 1 Vintage - Janice Long compilation

^ BBC Radio 1 Vintage – Janice Long compilation

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Gang Of Four – ‘I Love A Man In A Uniform’ (Remix) US 12″ EP (Warner Brothers Records, 0-29907, 1982)

December 21st, 2021

A desirable release back in the day for UK dwellers such as I, another tasty US 12″ EP that contains otherwise unavailable mixes and, in ‘Producer’, a track that was never issued this side of the ocean at all – and packaged up in a unique sleeve design as well, taking its styling cue from the ‘Songs Of The Free’ parent album.

Gang Of Four US 1982 'I Love A Man In A Uniform' (Remix) 12" EP front cover

^ Gang Of Four US 1982 ‘I Love A Man In A Uniform’ (Remix) 12″ EP front cover

Side One:

I Love A Man In A Uniform (Remix) (5:35)
Produced by Mike Howlett and with Jon King and Andrew Gill.
Remixed by Steve Sinclair with Hugo Burnham. Engineered by Randy Burns. Executive Producer David Rostamo.

Side Two:

Producer (2:33)
Produced by Mike Howlett and with Jon King and Andrew Gill.

I Love A Man In A Uniform (Dub Version) (4:48)
Produced by Mike Howlett and with Jon King and Andrew Gill.
Remixed by Steve Sinclair. Engineered by Randy Burns. Executive Producer David Rostamo. Read the rest of this entry »

Button Badge Goodness: The Police (Part 2)

December 14th, 2021

A further helping of Police lapel decorating button badge goodness, all dating from the 1979-1980 era…

The Police – button badge selection B

^ The Police – button badge selection B

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