Blue Velveteens

Goof: I’m bringing something old something new. Something borrowed and something blue.

(and a sixpence in her shoe) Are you familiar with that saying? I quite like it, although it is a saying on what every bride should wear at her wedding. It can also be applied to how I usually select music. Yes of course I also borrow music, from others and from what I find online. It is always blue (refers to the mood “blue”) and I usually pick both old and new tracks.

Infected Classic – Spandau Ballet, Muscle Bound
Spandau Ballet were an English new wave band formed in Islington, London. Gary Kemp and Steve Norman first decided to form the band, both playing guitar, after seeing The Sex Pistols perform in Islington that summer. Close friend and school mate Tony Hadley also joined as a vocalist in October 1976. Inspired by the capital’s post-punk underground dance scene, they emerged at the start of the 1980s as the house band for the Blitz Kids. The Blitz Kids were a group of people who frequented the Tuesday club-night at Blitz in Covent Garden, London in 1979-80, and are credited with launching the New Romantic subcultural movement.
Crucially, the Blitz club lay between two art colleges and so it became a testbed for student fashion designers. These included Stephen Jones, John Galliano and many others who went on to become famous in their own right. Other frequent attendees included Marilyn (of Calling your name fame) Boy George, with whom Marilyn would later share a squat together, and Martin Degville, the later frontman of Sigue Sigue Sputnik. Club night organizers Steve Strange and Rusty Egan formed Visage, as lead singer and drummer, respectively.
Tuesday nights at the Blitz were special. Steve Strange was the club’s greeter and Rusty Egan was the DJ. Together they co-hosted the exclusive Tuesday nights without giving them a name, and advertised them solely by word of mouth. There was a strict dress code at the door with an emphasis on style. Popular outfits consisted of bizarre home-made costumes and clothing and emphatic make-up, presenting a highly androgynous appearance.
The Blitz began making headlines thanks to its outrageous styles of clothes and make-up for both sexes, well documented by Gary Kemp in his 2009, I Know This Much, as well as in the book We Can Be Heroes: London Clubland 1976-1984.
(After “To Cut a Long Story Short” & “The Freeze”) “Muscle Bound” was released as the third single from Spandau Ballet’s debut album Journeys to Glory. It was their third consecutive hit in the UK, reaching number 10 on the UK Singles Chart. The song also charted at No. 32 in the Netherlands.

Insta Outcast – Okandi, Run The Hood│Elijah McClain

From the album BlackSquareCarePackage – Digital Album on Bandcamp. Ot currently on Spotify.

This track is by Tobi Okandi, ex-singer of O Children. His Digital Album is dedicated to 4 black victims of police violence. Tobi: “Out of countless beautiful, innocent black lives who have inspired this project – as well my future endeavours as a black alternative musician. I would like to honour these names next to my art, only as a tribute to their artistry in life, and the phenomenal marks they are leaving on the world in death.”

Elijah McClain was killed after an incident with police while walking home. A citizen reported to police that McClain was acting suspiciously wearing a ski mask, although the caller also indicated that he did not believe anyone was in danger, and that he believed McClain was unarmed. Upon arrest the officers held McClain on the ground for 15 minutes. While he was detained McClain was clearly in distress and vomited several times, for which he apologized and said: “I’m sorry, I wasn’t trying to do that, I can’t breathe correctly. “Officer Nathan Woodyard applied a chokehold around McClain’s neck. Paramedics injected him with 500 mg of ketamine as a sedative to reduce his agitation. McClain vomited several times while being held down, and suffered two cardiac arrests while being taken to the
hospital. He was pronounced brain dead seven days later after being removed from life support. McClain’s autopsy was inconclusive. The three police officers involved in the incident said their body cameras were knocked off during a struggle with him.

Grauzone – Film 2
I mentioned my Friend Dave earlier. He basically opened up the world of dark and great music to me. Also he is DJ’ing on several occasions. From weddings to squat parties.
I was at one of those parties and he mixed in this one by Grauzone in an Acid/Techno set. Later I found out that this Grauzone track was from 1981.
It was the B-side of the 12”single of their much more famous “Eisbär”. This track is way ahead, I mean lightyears ahead of it’s time. Pure techno, but in 1981.
It still holds up today, and I bet that no young people dancing away at a festival will pick up that this is that old..
Soft Kill (not to be confused with the also great band The Soft Moon).
It can be a daily struggle to survive for most bands out there plugging away night after night when on the road and playing gigs. Moreover, a struggle to make a living off music.
For Tobias Graves of Soft Kill, it literally became life and death. Headed back from a grueling tour in support of their last album, Tobias’ wife went into labor a month early. After very tense time and almost losing his wife and child they managed to pull through.
It took some time. During that time Grave chose to channel all that he was feeling into writing new material. The result is that Soft Kill has taken some of the bands personal, darkest moments and turned them into heavy, groove-laden music riddled with hope, processed through their own personal challenges in life to create their best album to date. At least, that’s what I think is their greatest album: Savior from 2018.
The music of Soft Kill across all albums can be described as .. well… “dramatic”.
Also “Intense and without compromise” are words that come to mind.
The music feels like it means something, each track. That takes a certain passion and dedication.
The words and music sound like they are based on experiences that took blood, sweat and certainly tears. The album Savior is no less than all of this.
It’s music influenced by a fight to save mother and child, the lasting pains of addiction, and the strain of a life on the road. This comes through all over the album. In the perfect opener “Swaddle,” the song we’re about to listen to….. makes you feel like there is no tomorrow. Pure raw energy. “Swaddle” starts as if it’s a lost INXS classic, but then quickly swoops down to the lower depths of the late 80’s era of The Cure with sounds that just completely absorb the listener.

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