Tuesday, April 4, 2017

SPAZ reviews the 3CD set 12” INCH DANCE: AUSTRALIAN ‘80s POP!


The grass is always greener…

     Since the dawning of Rock ‘n’ Roll, music fans have been enchanted by sounds from faraway lands. In the late ‘50s, kids all over the UK were eager to own the latest singles from American rockers like Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, etc.  By 1964, the tables had turned and kids in the U.S. were buying releases from The Beatles and any other band caught up in the British Invasion (Gerry & The Pacemakers, The Hollies, Freddie & The Dreamers, The Kinks, etc).  Ever since then, things have continued to go back and forth – we latch on to their brightest stars and they gladly accept America’s finest into their charts. At times, it seemed like Americans appreciated British artists more than their homegrown talent and vice versa. In Europe, they loved American music as well although the language barrier in some of the countries meant that their finest musical exports didn’t always connect with Americans.

     Luckily, Australia didn’t have the language barrier and we’ve welcomed artists from Down Under with open arms. It may have helped that the Aussie’s created music that blended American and British influences with their own brand of homegrown earthiness. The land of Oz may not have had the impact the Brits had on the U.S charts but their presence has been appreciated. Just think AC/DC, Little River Band, Men At Work, Crowded House (OK, technically, they are from New Zealand), Air Supply, INXS, etc. One thing to consider, though, is that for every one Australian artist that made it big in the U.S., there were hundreds that didn’t get proper promotion – or even a release - here.  This means that a lot of great music got missed/overlooked by the general American public unless they scoured every inch of the record bins at their local record stores. In the ‘80s, there were loads of great bands in Australia, many of whom scaled the charts in their homeland yet failed to attract any kind of attention in the U.S. unless they got airplay on ‘Alternative’ radio stations like KROQ in L.A. Many American radio listeners never knew of the existence of most of these bands, which was heartbreaking for every artist that deserved the chance to be heard. 

     These days, the internet has opened up the gates and a true music fan can learn about all that they missed decades ago while also trying to make sure they don’t miss any current artists.  While not meant as an introduction to what we may have missed way back in the ‘80s, 12” INCH DANCE: AUSTRALIAN ‘80s POP serves as a tasty reminder for Aussie Pop fans as well as an excellent introduction to those seeking to discover those great artists they missed back in the glory days of day-glo colors and gravity-defying hairstyles. Familiar names like Split Enz, Real Life, Icehouse, and Pseudo Echo rub shoulders with lesser known (in the U.S.) bands like I’m Talking, Kids In The Kitchen, Machinations, The Dugites, Mondo Rock, Do Re Mi and more.  Mix in a few alt-rock radio favorites by the likes of Hunters & Collectors, Stephen CummingsFlash & The Pan, Jo Jo Zep, Flowers (AKA Icehouse), Big Pig, and The Venetians and you’ve got one heck of a collection.

     But wait, there’s more! As the title - 12” INCH DANCE: AUSTRALIAN ‘80s POP – suggests, these 37 tracks – spread over 3 CDs – are the rare EXTENDED mixes!  So, not only do you get some of Oz’s finest ‘80s bands, you also get rare 12” single remixes. Almost every track on this compilation appears here on CD in remixed form for the first time. Of special interest is the rare remix of Split Enz’s final single, the post-Tim Finn single “I Walk Away” which Neil Finn later re-recorded for the first Crowded House album. And there’s plenty more where that came from. 12” INCH DANCE: AUSTRALIAN ‘80s POP is really a potpourri of extra-special goodness that reminds us of a special time in Pop Music history, Aussie style. 

      This is really quite glorious.

Keep on truckin',
Stephen SPAZ Schnee

Complete track list:

Real Life - Catch Me I'm Falling (Extended Version)
The Venetians - So Much for Love (Rock Mix)
Deckchairs Overboard - Shout (Extended)
Kids in the Kitchen - Something That You Said (Club Mix)
Big Pig - Justifier (12" Lucky Break Mix)
Flowers - Can't Help Myself (Extended Version)
Do Re Mi - Idiot Grin (Extended Mix)
Yothu Yindi Djapana (Gapirri Mix)
Beargarden - the Finer Things (Extended Mix)
Flash & the Pan - Waiting for a Train (Extended Remix)
Zan - Good Love (Good Lovin' Mix)
Boxcar - Gas Stop (High Octane Mix)

Dropbears - Shall We Go (Extended Version)
I'm Talking - Someday (Extended Mix)
Go 101 - Build It Up (Extended Mix)
Jo Jo Zep - Losing Game (Remixed Version)
Icehouse - Hey, Little Girl (Extended Dance Mix)
Schnell Fenster - Whisper (Extended Version)
SPK Ft. Graeme Revell and Karina Hayes - Breathless (Extended Dance Mix)
Dragon - River (12" Alluvial Mudmix)
Jump Incorporated - Sex and Fame (Julian Mendelsohn Remix)
No Justice - Lately (And Now for Something Completely Different) (Featuring Nikki Bennett)
Pseudo Echo - a Beat for You [Extended Version]
Pel Mel - Pandemonium (Extended Mix)

The Dugites - Cut the Talking (12" Extended Remix)
Boom Crash Opera City Flat (Extended Mix)
Hunters & Collectors Say Goodbye (Extended Mix)
Eurogliders - Can't Wait to See You (Moshi Moshi Mix)
Kate Ceberano - Bedroom Eyes (UK Extended Version - Mixed By Howard Gray)
Mondo Rock - the Modern Bop (Jellybean Mix)
Split Enz - I Walk Away (Extended Version)
Stephen Cummings - Gymnasium (Mega Dance Mix)
Wa Wa Nee - Can't Control Myself (Mixus Maximus Remix)
Jenny Morris - Body and Soul (Extended Version)
Machinations - Pressure Sway (Extended Version)
Models - I Hear Motion (Extended Mix)

Kids in the Kitchen - Bruce's Big Bonus Beats

No comments: