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the police roxanne

Rock Rewind: The Police ‘Roxanne’

It was 38 years ago today (Feb. 12) that British punk/new-wave band The Police went into the studio to record their first-ever single “Fall Out” in 1977, for the equivalent of $250. The song never charted and never appeared on a studio album (only on compilations and live recordings), and today only the most dedicated Police fans probably remember it. However, their second single, “Roxanne,” generated enough interest to land […]


pet shop boys west end girls

Pop Rewind: Pet Shop Boys “West End Girls”

Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, collectively known as new wave electro-pop duo Pet Shop Boys, had been generating interest in the club scene for several years before their breakout single “West End Girls” catapulted them to international fame. In fact, the version of the song most of us have heard wasn’t the first time it was released as a single. Tennant and Lowe had previously met noted electro-music producer Bobby […]


greetings from timbuk3

Rock Rewind: Timbuk3 “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades”

In true one-hit-wonder fashion, married duo Pat and Barbara K. McDonald (aka new wave/post-punk act Timbuk3) arrived on the music scene in 1986, made an indelible mark on 80s pop culture with their single “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades”—then quickly faded into obscurity. The duo first attracted attention from I.R.S. Records after appearing on an edition of MTV’s The Cutting Edge in 1986. After signing with them, […]


Blondie Call Me

Rock Rewind: Blondie “Call Me”

Depending on who you ask, there are basically two songs in Blondie’s catalog which could be considered their “signature hit.” The first is “Heart of Glass,” which we featured in a previous rewind. The other is “Call Me,” which hit the airwaves in 1980. Interestingly enough, both hits were something of an anomaly for the band. While “Heart of Glass” came under fire as too much of a disco hit […]


Devo

Devo’s Bob Casale Dead at 61

For the second time in nine months, a prominent member of new wave band Devo has passed away. Guitarist Bob Casale, who started Devo with his brother Gerald in 1972 and played on every Devo album, died suddenly of heart failure on Feb. 17, as confirmed by his brother. He was 61. Gerald Casale released a statement concerning Bob’s passing: “He was my level-headed brother, a solid performer and talented […]


The Police Synchronicity

Rock Rewind: The Police “Every Breath You Take”

Over the years, “Every Breath You Take” has arguably become the song most people identify with British rock group The Police—the band often credited with bringing New Wave to the mainstream. “Every Breath You Take” was the best-selling song from their best-selling album Synchronicity (1983)—which, ironically, was also their last. While every one of The Police’s five albums had done well since the band formed in the late 1970s (all […]


Devo

Rock Rewind: Devo “Whip It”

Given the sad news this week about the passing of former Devo drummer Alan Myers, it only seems fitting to pull out Devo’s best-known hit “Whip It” for this week’s Rock Rewind. (Yes, that’s Myers on the drums, although you can’t really see him.) “Whip It” was released on the New Wave outfit’s third album Freedom Of Choice (1980), and while it was by far their most successful track, it […]


alanmyers

Former Devo Drummer Alan Myers Dies

CORRECTION: Initial news reports incorrectly named brain cancer as Alan Myers’ cause of death. Actual cause of death was stomach cancer. -Ed. Alan Myers, former drummer for New Wave outfit Devo, has passed away. As reported by Slicing Up Eyeballs, the man affectionately nicknamed “The Human Metronome” succumbed to a long battle with brain cancer on June 25. First news of his passing came from the Facebook page of his […]


morethanjustadream

Fitz and the Tantrums “More Than Just a Dream” – Album Review

Elektra Records (2013)

After the runaway success of their debut album Pickin’ Up the Pieces, retro-soul act Fitz and the Tantrums were faced with a unique challenge. Retro acts draw their popularity from drawing upon the emotions and feelings of so-called glory days, but the flip side of this double-edged sword is that if the sound in question went out of vogue once, it will do so again, eventually. Fitz had to find […]


drive

Rock Rewind: The Cars “Drive”

One of the poster-child bands of America’s venture into New Wave, The Cars were recognized as a sort of transitional band as rock music shifted from the guitar driven songs of the late 1970’s into 80’s synth-heavy pop. Their biggest charting hit “Drive” (often called by the first line of the song, “Who’s Gonna Drive You Home Tonight”), leaned toward the completion of that transition. Dripping with synths overlaid on […]


comedownmachine

The Strokes “Comedown Machine” – Album Review

RCA (2013)

Let’s just start by saying that if it were anyone besides Julian Casablancas leading this band, it would be easy to identify The Strokes as a band that have completely lost their way. After the mixed reviews that followed their 2011 release Angles, they’ve spent two years purposely out of the spotlight, guarding their movements carefully, revealing little more to the public than little snippets that only heightened the mystery. […]


blondieheartofglass

Pop Rewind: Blondie “Heart Of Glass”

Here in the twenty-teens, it’s easy to look back and view the disco craze of the 1970s as an anomaly, a musical style unto itself that lived a short but interesting life. But 1979’s “Heart of Glass,” put out by punk/New Wave outfit Blondie, serves as a reminder that even back then there was bleedover between genres—sometimes more than people thought was appropriate. When “Heart of Glass” came out, it […]


ultramarine

The Ocean Blue “Ultramarine”: More than a Comeback (Album Review)

self-released (2013)

I always worry about bands and artists from bygone days who release comeback records after 10 or more years (let’s just say I breathed a sigh of relief with David Bowie’s latest). Likewise, when I found out Pennsylvania-based New Wave band The Ocean Blue was releasing Ultramarine, their first full-length studio recording since 1999, I was a bit apprehensive. Would it measure up to their amazing material that won them […]


dontyou

Pop Rewind: Simple Minds “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”

Simply put, the success of “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds is a lesson in irony. Arguably their most memorable hit in a career spanning over 30 years, the song wasn’t even on one of their studio albums, but was made famous as part of the soundtrack for John Hughes’ 1985 teen angst film The Breakfast Club. It went on to spend a whopping two years on the […]


betalove

Ra Ra Riot Jumps into Synth-Pop with “Beta Love”: Album Review

Barsuk Records (2013)

For a band that has been around for less than five years, it might seem a bit early to think about reinventing. Ra Ra Riot started their journey solidly in the chamber-pop vein, combining indie rock with lush orchestrations—but for their new album Beta Love, they have jumped forward (backward?) with both feet into a modern-framed synth-pop with obvious 80’s New Wave influences. I happen to think it works; others […]


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